Art, an Alternative to Foreclosure

Original article, “Bus stops that became homes overnight,” by Anna Edwards appeared August 24, 2011 in the UK’s Daily Mail

Not all protest is about marching or boycotting, there is also protest through art. 

Some protesters vent their fury with angry banners, others boycott, while some create petitions.But two artists came up with a far more creative – and eye-catching – way to make their feelings known about bank bosses.They transformed bus stops into miniature houses overnight to highlight how some people may lose their homes to banks involved in the financial crisis.

Art attack! The bus stop is turned into a girly bedroom with Disney wallpaper to highlight the plight of hundreds who may be made homeless by banksArt attack! The bus stop is turned into a girly bedroom with Disney wallpaper to highlight the plight of hundreds who may be made homeless by banks. The ‘art attack’ saw one stop in Whalley Range, Manchester, kitted out with a picket fence and astroturf. A second, on Chorlton Road in Hulme, became a child’s bedroom complete with Disney wallpaper, pictures and even a bed.

A fake ‘foreclosure’ sign next to the first stop, on Withington Road, said ‘900 families could have their homes repossessed by the same banks that caused the financial crisis’.

The artwork appeared in the early hours of Tuesday morning – leaving people using the bus stops bemused.

What a way to tell them: The bus stop, complete with picket fence, bemuses bystandersWhat a way to tell them: The bus stop, complete with picket fence, bemuses bystanders. Worshippers at the Hindu temple on Withington Road said the protesters must have struck after they left around 2am following a religious celebration.

Parminder Sharma, 65, said: ‘I just noticed what they had done when we pulled up in front of it and I thought it looked really unusual. ‘It is a wonderful and eye-catching way of making this point. ‘They are saying it’s banks who have caused this crisis and now are not helping their communities.’

Overnight transformation: Visitors have enjoyed the creative protestOvernight transformation: Visitors have enjoyed the creative protest. Shimla Kaur, a cleaner at the temple, said: ‘I think it’s really nice. It does look very homely.’  Jamie Lee Jackson, 20, who was passing with her four-year-old son Anthony, said: ‘I think it’s absolutely brilliant.  ‘Whoever has done this isn’t doing any harm. They are just trying to prove their point – and it’s true what they are saying.’

Staff at Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), who are responsible for the stops, were called to take photos while bosses decided what to do. The artwork in Whalley Range has been taken down, while the other remained last night.

Two artists calling themselves Terrorwrist and Isaac Shnewton, who are visiting the city for an art exhibition that starts on Friday, were responsible for the stunt.

Mr Shnewton said: ‘When you see up to 900 ordinary folks losing their homes each week to the same banks that caused the financial crisis with their unsustainable economic attitudes and unrestricted behaviour, it makes you want to do something that will communicate these real crimes to the public.’

TfGM declined to comment.

 

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