Homeless artists exhibit work in Auckland

8:49 am on 11 October 2015

An art exhibition by homeless West Aucklanders has come out of a collaboration between Te Whānau o Waipareira and Corbans Art Estate.

Organisers say the exhibition will show off the homeless artists' talents and provide a new perspective on them. The work is for sale.

Te Whānau o Waipareira and Corbans Art Estate are holding the Homeless Art Exhibition - 'Rama mai ki roto - Rama ki waho / Inward light - Outward Light' to mark World Homeless Day on Saturday.

The exhibition, which opened on Friday night, will remain open to the public on Saturday at the Corbans Estate in Henderson.

A piece by artist Robert Mariner.

A piece by artist Robert Mariner. Photo: Supplied

A silent auction will be held throughout that time with the successful bidders announced on Saturday evening.

All proceeds from the auction will go directly to the artists.

The idea is the brainchild of Waipareira kaimahi Grant Wilson, who used to live on the streets himself.

Twelve "freedom sleepers" have created work in a variety of mediums in an old wine cellar on the Corbans estate. The exhibits include sculpture, paintings, a taiaha and korowai.

Mr Wilson, who is now a social worker at the Waipareira Trust, said it had been very rewarding to watch the artists' confidence grow throughout the process.

The artists include master carver Robert Mariner, who has lived on the streets since 1984.

Mr Wilson said Mr Mariner had had a very tough life, having come from an abusive home, and had suffered many personal tragedies.

He said the exhibition was an opportunity for the community to engage with the homeless and become more empathetic.

"To better understand who they are, what makes them tick, what are the skills that they have.

"I would just love it for whānau to be able to come down and engage with some of our homeless and marginalised whānau, so they can get an idea of who this person is."

Homeless master carver Robert Mariner.

Homeless master carver Robert Mariner. Photo: Supplied