Robert Lenkiewicz - Vagrancy Project

Vagrancy Project

The Vagrancy Project consisted of several dozen paintings of vagrants and a large book of notes written by the dossers themselves and those involved in their 'care' and control. Lenkiewicz hoped that the exhibition, and the down and outs' own stories, would illuminate the plight of these 'invisible people' and galvanize the community into humane action on their behalf. The format of the 'Project' – combining thematically linked paintings with the publication of research notes and the collected observations of the sitters – was to be used consistently throughout Lenkiewicz's career. Projects such as Mental Handicap (1976), Old Age (1979) and Death (1982) followed the one on vagrancy as Lenkiewicz continued to examine the lives of ostracised, hidden sections of the community and bring them to the attention of the general public.

The Paul Downes song "Robert and the Cowboys" was inspired by the project and describes a number of the vagrants.

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