Slums to cities: street art’s Pied Piper

SOURCE: Natalie Robehmed for CNN [July 31, 2011]
Hong Kong (CNN) — Another humid summer night in Hong Kong and another fly-poster is discretely pasting what looks like a photograph of an emaciated girl onto a wall on a busy side street.
But this is no ordinary fly-poster.
He is unassuming Canadian street artist Kaid Ashton, and the subject in the print is a young girl he recently photographed in the Filipino capital, Manila.
For the past seven years he’s been traveling to some of the world’s most dangerous slums documenting the people he meets with his camera. He then posts his work on walls around the cities he visits.
Now he’s in Hong Kong, bringing his images of slum life to the busy streets of one of Asia’s financial hubs. One of the world’s wealthiest cities may seem an incongruous setting for Ashton’s work — but that’s what he wants.
His current project, “People in Poverty,” consists of 30 intimate portraits snapped during Ashton’s travels to some of Asia’s poorest places — including the Tondo district and Maharlika settlement of Manila, Philippines. Ashton prints the photographs on wallpaper-like material before sticking them outdoors using a technique known as “wheatpasting.”
Ashton aims to make people reconsider their surroundings by placing his photographs in unexpected locations, be it the wall of a housing estate or the pillar of an underpass.
He is always on the lookout for a potential spot, and spends his days scouring the city to find the perfect place.
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