The Path to a Brighter Future
Meet Kingsley. He’s the talented artist who painted these colourful boots in celebration of Hutt St Centre’s 2022 Walk a Mile in My Boots Challenge.
For over a year, Kingsley’s been taking part in the Aged City Living program at Hutt St Centre, which provides support for older people who’ve experienced homelessness. He’s also a frequent visitor to our Creative Hub – putting his passion for art into practice.
His method for painting the boots was unusual, but was inspired by another cause dear to Kingsley’s heart: the environment.
“I mulled over in my head, ‘What am I going to do with the boots?’ And thought I could use litter to paint with instead of paintbrushes. I have always been anti-litter, ever since I was a young boy. I had posters on my wall about Port Adelaide Football club, and about anti-litter campaigns.”
Kingsley’s mixed medium approach creates a stunning visual impact, with bold fluorescent paints applied in striking patterns and prints – but reflects a sad truth about our streets:
“Everything I’ve painted the boots with, it’s all stuff that I’ve picked up off the street, off the footpaths, off the roads – it’s all garbage that would probably otherwise end up in our oceans. I used discarded makeup brushes, bottle lids, scraps of plastic, and more to paint the boots – I picked up all kinds of different litter.”
“I’m passionate about keeping our community clean, and I wanted to convey that message through these boots. The artwork combines my passion for the environment with experiencing homelessness, and I have been homeless.”
Before finding himself on the streets a few years ago, Kingsley had lived at his family home of forty-four years. But when the property was acquired unexpectedly, he was left with nowhere to go.
“I never thought I would experience homelessness, it never occurred to me. Being homeless in the middle of winter was terrible! And I do feel for people out there who are still sleeping rough.”
“The biggest help Hutt St Centre gave me was finding a place to live. And then joining the Aged City Living program gave me a chance to get more involved in the community.”
Now Kingsley enjoys spending time with the people he’s met through Hutt St Centre. As well as giving him the chance to find a permanent home, the Aged City Living program enables Kingsley to take part in regular group activities and outings.
“I love going bowling, and we went to Burnside Council for their SALA exhibition, and I love doing art here in the Creative Hub.”
These opportunities for social connection are vital for helping people like Kingsley to stay happy, healthy and in their homes for longer. And many of these moments are made possible by Hutt St Centre’s generous supporters.
“Painting the boots gave me a chance to give back to Hutt St Centre. I felt privileged and honoured that I was asked to do it this year.”
“Thank you to everyone who participated in and donated to Walk a Mile in My Boots! The work you’re doing, raising money, is helping people on the streets.”
Thank you to Kingsley for sharing his story, his passion for the environment, and his artistic skills with us in celebration of our supporters and the valuable impact you have on people’s lives.