There is no doubt West End is a beautiful area – in daylight we see wide open spaces of greenery that border the river and parks that have become a feature of the streets and communities that surround them.

But as night falls on these spaces, a silent struggle begins and goes unnoticed for many of us — homelessness is something that all major cities wrestle with; Brisbane is no different. But maybe we are a little different. And maybe it’s our residents that make West End a community that is a little bit special …

Lars Vester is a local professional artist who has just completed a series of paintings inspired by the West End area, themed: West End in a Different Light. “As an artist, I’m forever chasing that magical light that so rarely presents itself, and when it does, usually only lasts for a few moments. This constant search for the perfect light often takes me on field trips very early in the mornings (around the break of dawn) or later around sunset,” Lars says.

During these field trips, Lars discovered that even a beautiful place like West End can have a darker undercurrent lesser seen in the light of day. At sunset, our parklands become houses, shelter; they become homes. “While most of us enjoy the parklands around us during the day, there are many people who use them as their bedrooms after the sun goes down — because they have very little or no other choice. It was a real eye opener for me, I really didn’t realise how widespread the problem was within our community, and it compelled me to take some form of action,” he says.

Lars decided to produce part of the West End in a Different Light series as greeting cards, and donate $1 per pack sold to The Micah Project in West End — an organisation providing sustainable homes for the homeless and general support for the socially isolated. Hauntingly beautiful, Lars’ work is an honest and magical tribute to the West End area. Lars’ cards are now being sold through major newsagencies around West End, The Art Shed, The Framer, West End News, Greta Hartley Designs at The West End Market, and through Micah Projects or Lars is also now running his own stall selling the cards at the West End Markets every Saturday.

The cards have been selling so well, in fact, that the project raised $400 just in time for the Christmas Campaign. With the cards almost completely sold out, Lars has begun work on a new series which will be ready to launch in March — a continuation of the West End in a Different Light theme and painted during the magical jacaranda season.“Although it’s a humble start, I’m hopeful that the success will continue to grow,” Lars says.

And ‘humility’ might just be the perfect word to associate with Lars and his project that is now on its way to changing lives in our community.

To see more of Lars’ work, visit his website


 Words by Allie Gilfedder  |  Images by Lars Vester

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