October-November 2018 | People of Action

Ayoola remembers homelessness

Ayoola remembers homelessness

Homelessness is a prospect many of us can scarcely imagine.

Four years ago, Ayoola Adeyanju’s family of four came uncomfortably close to being homeless.

The landlord of a rented Manchester apartment, which he was moving into, was facing a repossession order – leaving Ayoola, his wife and two young sons stuck between properties with nowhere to live.

Months of bouncing between the local authority, Shelter and rodent-infected temporary accommodation left its mark on the family.

Which is why Ayoola – now a member of the Rotary Club of Manchester Trailblazers and professional multi-media artist – pledged a percentage of profits, from his first solo exhibition of work to Manchester’s Booth Centre.

Thirty original works went on a three-day display this summer in the Ulster Gallery at the Irish World Heritage Centre in Cheetham Hill.

The trauma of my family’s potential fate would not go away for a long time.”

Ayoola’s art college degree in Lagos, Nigeria, earned him a directorship with an advertising company before he moved to Manchester in 2007 to continue his studies.

That was when his own close shave with homelessness left a scar.

“The trauma of my family’s potential fate would not go away for a long time,” he said. “Thinking about it right now still makes me shiver because I can imagine the despondency, depression and suffering among folks who have to sleep rough on the streets.

“At least we had a mould-covered place to live that was unbelievably infested with creatures that would drag large food items from the kitchen into the living room, bite large chunks out and then disappear. Those experiences alone shaped my decision to support the homeless.”

That has included joining Manchester Trailblazers Rotary Club which is a long-time supporter of the Booth Centre – a Manchester based local charity that looks after the interests of homeless people.

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