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The Touching Voice of the Homeless Documented in “Sign of the Times”
“After a while, a few people said to me, “I’ve heard of you. You’re the guy going around buying signs. I was wondering if you were ever going to find me.”
Poverty in America is a prevalent issue evident in the ring of the Salvation Army’s bell, first-hand experiences of loved ones, and the actual struggling people who look you in the eye as you pass through an intersection. As physically obvious as the issue is, it continues to be a growing problem in America. This collection of homeless people’s signs aims to raise awareness for homelessness, this time via the Internet. Artist Andres Serrano collects people’s cardboard signs in New York City by seeking out the homeless and offering them $20 for their creation – which he then documents and has recently presented online in an interesting exhibit of struggle, humor, and honesty.
Serrano approaches the sign-flyers in a similar way each time. He says, “I’m an artist. And artists see things in a different way. And one of the things I see are the signs the homeless have. I’m buying these signs because I see every sign as a story. There are many stories out here that should be heard. Can I offer you $20 for your sign?” People are typically thrilled to part with their signs for the small amount, even when they look like they have had a long history with the scraggly cardboard.