The inspirational project, “Signs For The Homeless” was started by Kenji Nakayama, a painter in Boston with a heart for the homeless. The project involved replacing beaten down, cardboard and marker pen signs with beautifully painted, eye catching versions to try help catch the attention of ongoing public. The message on the board remained the same, still bringing across the message the person in need originally wanted to portray.
It eventually became a larger scale project when Nakayama teamed up with Cambridge resident, Christopher Hope. Instead of just exchanging old signs for the new, the pair also began (with the subjects permission) to interview and post their stories online. The interview questions would help base an outline of why the subject is homeless and their own personal story. Before doing this, Nakayama and Hope would go through necessary measures to provide the subject with food etc.
The pair have come under criticism for their work due to the idea that it may be “exploiting” the people which they interview. However those claims were discarded by the pair, simply stating that there’s always going to be people who dislike their work and their main goal is to help these people.
I think the work that they are doing is amazing, helping the homeless by providing better means of attracting the publics eye, whilst humanising them to the public as not just a “homeless person”, but someone just like me and you who is in need and also has a story of their own to tell.