If you want to raise awareness of homelessness, commissioning a giant sculpture of a homeless person and asking stars of the biggest TV show around to unveil it at one of the UK’s busiest train stations is a strong way to do it.
And that’s what charity Crisis has done. The sculpture, called Alex, appeared overnight outside London’s King’s Cross rail station, where it was unveiled by The Crown stars Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce.
Crisis says it makes homelessness “impossible to ignore”. And it’s hard to argue.
At 2.5 tonnes and over 14ft tall, it stands as a visible testament to the hundreds of thousands experiencing homelessness in the UK. Advanced face mapping technology combined the features of 17 people experiencing homelessness for the sculpture, which was created by artist Sophie de Oliveira Barata.
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“It’s been a fascinating process harnessing artificial intelligence to create a face that represents homelessness a problem that all too many of us ignore and struggle to engage with,” the artist said. “This is the largest sculpture I’ve ever created and I sincerely hope it makes the desired impact and stops everyone in their tracks.”
Staunton, an ambassador for Crisis, said: “As a nation we need to do better and this Christmas, we can all be part of that change. This installation stands as a testament and a rallying cry, we cannot sit idly by and watch the situation worsen. The intention of this incredibly lifelike sculpture is simple: homelessness cannot be ignored any longer.”