Through the power of art, one Penticton advocate is hoping to challenge the stigma around homelessness and encourage local conversation.
Indigenous artist Idris Hudson has vowed to donate 25% of all net proceeds from the sale of postcards, greeting cards and posters, purchased from his booth at the Penticton Farmers’ Market, every Saturday, to the South Okanagan Women in Need Society’s outreach van and other front-line, local charities.
After his first Saturday at the market, Hudson was able to donate $2.50.
“It felt right,” he said. “There’s no expectation. It’s the fact that I can get up in the morning and realize that I’m able to share.”
During the seven years he lived in Vancouver, Hudson pushed for awareness around harm reduction, specifically in the LGBTQIA2 community, and advocacy for the homeless and citizens with addiction.
“I really got to see all sides of it,” he said. “When I came to Penticton, I wanted to bring some of that experience here. But I saw cruelty, and that I couldn’t do anything about it.”
As a low-income artist, Hudson refused to accept limitations, and instead decided to act on his photography and art skills.
“I see beauty, but can I translate it? I think about all of the things I’m not allowed to say out here, and the things that hurt me,” he said. “But what I can do is translate that message.
“So I created a digital piece of art, called the Symbol of Unconditional Love, and I promised myself that I was going to use this piece as a piece of interpretive art and give money to charity.”
The Symbol of Unconditional Love is featured on Hudson’s postcards, greeting cards and posters.
Hudson hopes his advocacy will create a discussion around helping the homeless and addicted population in the Penticton community.
“There’s so much resistance here, to the point where if the city blatantly oppresses citizens, publicly, and humiliates them, people clap,” he said.
“This is my statement. It’s a very peaceful and very engaging silent protest. I’m never afraid of a little pushback. Civic elections are soon.”
Hudson’s talent was quickly picked up by Mondo Creation art gallery, who leased a space for Hudson to display his work, a big step for Hudson, who has never released his art publicly.
“I could never have asked for an opportunity like that, but it’s something that I can grow and nurture in the Okanagan,” he said.
Hudson will also be showing his collection in Vancouver during Pride Week.
He’s also a proud, founding support of the Untoxicated festival, held annually in Vancouver during the Pride closing weekend, and was also a featured TEDx speaker in 2016.
Hudson’s collection will be on display and pieces available for purchase during the Hello Summer! Artwalk on June 20, from 5-8 p.m., and 25% of net proceeds from the sale of postcards, greeting cards or posters will be donated to local charities.