An art exhibition has launched in Northern Quarter to raise money for Manchester’s homeless community

‘They Come In Threes’ features ‘On The Streets - Painting for Homelessness’, a project raising money for Manchester’s most prominent homeless helpers.

By Emma Davidson | 18 October 2022

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Exhibiting at the new three-storey art space, Saan1 Manchester on Kelvin Street, They Come in Threes is the debut solo exhibition by artist, FNTSYWRLD aka Ben van de Wouw. 

Beginning the project back in 2021, the artist took his practice out onto the streets of Manchester to publicly create a number of acrylic paintings in order to experience a small fraction of the vulnerability that the homeless community is exposed to daily. 

With the aim of spreading compassion and humanity for those in a less fortunate position – as well as raising a donation goal of £6,500 to be donated to ‘Don’t Walk Past’, an outreach group who help the homeless of Manchester – the paintings at the exhibition will be for sale, alongside a limited zine, to reach this goal. 

Ben said: I chose ‘Don’t Walk Past’ from specific testimonials of people I spoke to who were currently living on the streets. They vouched that ‘Don’t Walk Past’ was the organisation that they received the most practical help from regularly. 

“Since the organisation is self-funded, I decided to raise the money to help their practice. Homelessness has always been something I’ve wanted to contribute toward helping for no other reason than the basic human things that everyone should be entitled to –  food and drink, clothing, shelter and opportunity.”

The Painting For Homelessness exhibition takes over the ground floor of Saan1 Manchester, while the rest of the exhibition houses a range of visually striking figurative paintings, drawn from FNTSYWRLD’s psyche. 

As a person who struggles with a fair amount of mental hardship, he finds solace in creating something physically representative of the woes he experiences internally, and the first floor of the exhibition is reflective of that. 

The second floor of the exhibition then sees FNTSYWRLD explore the male gaze through grayscale pencil illustrations.

Ben furthered: “Art is therapy, making something physical from nothing but my own mentality. I also think that this subject matter is relatable to anyone who struggles mentally and that appeals to me – helping others find comfort in obscure thought. 

“I am exhibiting a series of illustrations, exploring my experience of the male gaze and how I, among many men, seemingly instinctively objectify women upon first glance. I am confronting this as a truth, and I am interested in the origins of this mental attribute through societal influences.”

They Come In Threes launched at Saan1 yesterday (Monday 17th October) and is available to visit Monday to Friday 11am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 6pm and Sunday – 11am – 5pm.