Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Willie Baronet

God Bless

2010, Digital prints mounted behind Plexiglas, 36"w x 36"h

Since 1993 I have been buying and collecting homeless signs from people on the streets, in subways, under bridges, in cities near and far. It began with an awkwardness I would feel when pulling up to an intersection and encountering a person holding a sign, asking for help. Like many people I wrestled with whether or not I was doing good by giving them money. I wondered if they would spend the money on food or alcohol or drugs. Mostly I struggled with my moral obligations and how my own choices contributed in conscious or unconscious ways to the poverty I was witnessing. I struggled with the unfairness of the lives people are born into– the physical, mental and psychological handicaps. And in my struggle I often avoided eye contact with those on the street, unwilling to really “see” them. In doing so I avoided seeing parts of myself.

I see the signs now as signposts of my own journey, inward and outward, of reconciling my life and my judgments with the plight of the homeless, and even with the notions of home, goodness, and compassion. Part of the passion that drives me to share this work with others is so that they too might examine their own.

Willie Baronet - God Bless

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