Within 20 minutes of the installation of a statue depicting a ‘Homeless Jesus’, police were called.
- The bronze statue was built to raise awareness of homelessness and remind people that all are created in the image of God.
- Police were called after the statue was mistaken for a homeless person.
- There are conflicting views on the statue and its purpose as some point out the irony of having anti-homeless architecture raise awareness of homelessness.
Timothy Schmalz’ ‘Homeless Jesus’ reminds people that all are created in the image of God.
The statue depicts a bench and the figure of a man covered in a blanket. It is only the figure’s wounded feet which one can see and it is through them that one can understand that the figure represents Jesus. Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz created the statue with the aim of raising awareness of homelessness and reminding people that all are created in the image of God. Currently, the statue is located at St. Barnabas Bay Village Episcopal Church. Furthermore, according to Priest Alex Martin, within twenty minutes of its installation, a passerby had called the police as they mistook the statue for a homeless person.
St. Barnabas Bay Village Episcopal Church and Priest Alex Martin tweeted:
If anyone wants to help, please use this link to give. Select "Homeless Jesus" and every penny raised will be used to feed, clothe, and house those in need. Hopefully some good will come from all this. Thank you. https://t.co/NiqTi8cUcH
— St. Barnabas, Bay Village (@StBarnabasBV) October 14, 2020
Within twenty minutes of the statue arriving, I was having a conversation with a very kind police officer because someone called to report a homeless man sleeping on a park bench. Within twenty minutes… https://t.co/kyD1vyEd4p
— Alex Martin (@ADMartin86) October 12, 2020
Numerous people criticized the display, pointing out its irony.
Many pointed out the irony of having anti-homeless architecture raise awareness of homelessness. They noted that those who are homeless would much rather have benches they can use instead of a bronze statue depicting a homeless Jesus.
Absolutely moronic. If you don't see the irony in this i fear for you
— Thomas Godfrey (@Godderz97) October 13, 2020
It literally would have been more helpful to homeless people to have just the bench here, perfornative wokeness in its natural habitat
— Jacob #BLM (@sitcomrade) October 14, 2020
“Let’s raise awareness for people that are homeless by taking up the whole bench that they sometimes sleep on”
— Mikeoxlong (@nickguhh) October 14, 2020
jdakfjka anti homeless architecture to raise awareness of homelessness
— Rome (@romefromdiscord) October 14, 2020
On the other hand, many appreciated the statue’s message and beauty.
While some criticized Schmalz’ work, others found his statue to be thought-provoking and an appropriate way to raise awareness. They noted that the purpose of art is to spark discussion and evidently, this piece is doing just that.
Being a former homeless youth, I can tell you the statue helps more. When Evangelical Christians are forced to look at it and have it not be removed by the police. They are forced to accept reality, and it humanizes the homeless population. They aren't nameless faceless vagrants.
— Moxie (@MoxieRocker) October 14, 2020
This art installation causes people to think about the homeless and changes their perception. This leads them to advocate for policies that actually help homeless people by providing what they actually need: homes.
— Joanne Ma (@MaMajoannekim) October 15, 2020
And side note, homeless people need homes not more benches to sleep on for all those on here complaining about the lack of accessibility to this bench for said Homeless to sleep on.
— Christina Zuniga (@czuniga31) October 14, 2020