The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s photo exhibition at Citycenter raises awareness of homelessness and its many causes. The exhibition has a strong message: face the real person, without prejudice. 

Located in downtown Helsinki, Citycenter is stopping passers-by at the corner of Kaivokatu and Keskuskatu with a story-driven photo exhibition.

The exhibition offers people an opportunity to recognise their own prejudices.

The Finnish Blue Ribbon Foundation’s (Sininauhasäätiö) exhibition Without Prejudice seeks to dismantle the stereotypes and prejudices associated with homelessness through eight striking life stories.

Homelessness can affect anyone

“As a developer of shopping centres and urban environments, we felt the message of the exhibition was important, and we wanted to make it accessible to everyone who passes Citycenter. Homelessness is a phenomenon that is often forgotten but can temporarily affect anyone. The exhibition seeks to provide a new perspective on the problem while also providing a channel for providing help,” explains Citycenter marketing manager Ria Leppävuori.

One of the stories in the exhibition tells the story of a man whose homelessness stems from childhood trauma and destructive relationships. The journey of a small 13-year-old Iraqi boy soldier to an apartment provided by the Blue Ribbon Foundation has not been easy.        

The goal of the exhibition designer, photographer Sofia Eskola, was to create an empowering experience for the people portrayed through the project and also to give those who see it a chance to identify their own hidden prejudices.  

The photos are accompanied by illustrations that seek to highlight the importance of each individual story.

“The photos are accompanied by illustrations that seek to bring to life the stories of the participants and highlight the importance of each individual story,” Eskola says.

Central location facilitates social influencing

According to Leppävuori, globalisation and inequality are bringing more and more people from different backgrounds to cities and shopping centres, which is why eradicating prejudice is even more important – for children and adults alike.

Paula became homeless in her early twenties after leaving work due to exhaustion and severe depression. The young woman gets energy and comfort from flamenco, which, in the middle of difficult times, opened the door to self-expression.   

“If our prejudices prevent us from encountering other people with open minds, we cannot learn to understand them and their needs. And if we don’t understand, we won’t be able to offer the right kind of help,” Leppävuori emphasises.

With over 16 million customers passing through the shopping centre every year, Citycenter is perfectly suited for social influencing. 

The marketing manager believes Citycenter—located at a public transport hub with more than 70 shops, cafes and restaurants—is perfectly suited for social influencing.

According to Citycenter’s marketing manager Ria Leppävuori, Citycenter, which is located in the heart of the city, wants to use its position to highlight issues of social importance.   

“With over 16 million customers passing through our shopping centre every year, we have a tremendous opportunity to highlight important social issues. Social responsibility is a key component of our sustainability policy, and we are always committed to promoting equality and justice in all our activities.”

The exhibition consists of the photos and stories of eight homeless people. Two photos of each person are featured and one of the photos is accompanied by illustrations to support the story. 

The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s exhibition Without Prejudice will be on display in Citycenter shop windows at the corner of Keskuskatu and Kaivokatu until the end of February 2020.

  

Discover the stories and photos of the exhibition online >>

Sponda, the owner of Citycenter, was selected as Sustainability Leader - read why! >>

 

Published

11.2.2020
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Kaivokatu 8, Helsinki, Ydinkeskusta
Kaivokatu 8
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Eeva Jacobsson
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