Let's End Poverty have partnered with Stephen Martin, an artist living in Sheffield, to take his powerful Dreams and Realities portrait exhibition across the UK alongside a series of community-led art events.

The paintings and their story

Stephen Martin, a local artist, has painted acrylic portraits of nine people living in poverty in Sheffield, including himself.

Each picture shows the person, something that depicts their economic reality, and something that represents the dreams and ambitions they would pursue if they were not held back by poverty and unjust systems.


The project has been coordinated by Yo Tozer-Loft, who runs community choirs in Sheffield, with support from Church Action on Poverty. In this video Stephen and Yo talk more about the project and their stories.


Their journey so far:


The tour began with a fantastic launch event at St Mary’s Church, Bramall Lane, Sheffield featuring music from local Sheffield community choirs.

The exhibition then remained in Sheffield until April 28th, receiving a write-up in The Star newspaper.




Next, the exhibition went to Newcastle where it was displayed in second Newcastle City Library from May 2nd to May 16th

On May 11th Brunswick Methodist Church played host to a wonderful event which featured performances from the Phoenix Choir and Pedalers Band as well as an insightful panel discussion between people campaigning and working on the front line of poverty in Newcastle.




On Monday May 20th the exhibition moved to YMCA North Staffordshire in preparation for an event  on May 23rd.

With each launch event we are hoping to build the movement, make new local partners and celebrate the work they’re doing. YMCA provide a huge range of direct and hands on support to young people and families. With that in mind our Stoke event was more interactive, including a free community meal and an interactive choir.



The paintings were then taken to the annual Dignity For All conference in York organised by Church Action on Poverty, APLE Collective and the Joint Public Issues team. The paintings were displayed alongside a series of talks, discussions and workshops that focused on elevating the voices of people with lived experience of poverty ahead of the election


Next on the tour was London, more specifically Camden Town Methodist Church. For this leg we have been lucky enough to team up with the wonderful ATD Fourth World UK, who have a history of using creativity and art as part of their anti-poverty work.


Alongside the paintings ATD Fourth World exhibited a powerful photography and poetry exhibition created by activists with experience of poverty.


Next we brought the exhibition up to Leeds for the annual Methodist conference which took place in the Royal Armouries Museum.

The paintings were displayed as part of the annual Beckley lecture organised by the Joint Public Issues Team. This year the event was titled: ‘What would it take to end poverty in the UK?’ And featured talks from Trussel lived experience activist Val Mckie and Trussel trust CEO Emma Revie.