Coming to Wellington!
‘Transplanted: Refugee Portraits of New Zealand’
The National Portrait Gallery of New Zealand, Wellington
October 27 – November 5th
If seeking asylum is having your life pulled up by its roots, then being transplanted to New Zealand soil as a refugee is its regeneration–in all its difficult beauty.
You may not realise that the colleague who sits next to you in the boardroom, the doctor who writes your prescription, or the teacher who cares for your kindergartener, may have begun life in New Zealand as a refugee child themselves (40% of New Zealand’s annual refugee in-take come here as children). How do you honour the rich contribution to New Zealand of the incredibly diverse individuals behind the word ‘refugee’? Moreover, how do you dispel myths around asylum seekers and refugees in New Zealand—a conversation that’s needed now more than ever?
These gorgeous two-metre tall portraits by renowned photographer Alistair Guthrie, and the curated public conversations that surround them, honour the individual behind that label.
Funds for the Refugee Portrait Project will go into printing these stunning large-scale prints, the accompanying text, setting up the speaker’s forums to take place during the exhibit, and travel expenses for the show to tour the country. The first cities targeted are Dunedin and Wellington.
The ‘Human Library’
Just as vital as the visual component of this exhibit is the talking space that will be created within the gallery walls during the exhibit’s tenure. Public talks will accompany the project in each city. Guest speakers will discuss our rapidly changing situation in New Zealand, our region, and the world, with refugees invited to give their perspective on the issues at hand and tell their stories in a multi-culturally curated ‘Human Library’. Just as people can ‘check out’ a book—individuals, school groups, church groups, anyone—can sign up to ‘check out’ a person and their life experience as a refugee in this country.
National Portrait Gallery, Shed 11, on Customhouse Quay opposite Johnston Street, Wellington waterfront.
When: October 27th – November 5th, 2017.
Open 10:30am-4:30pm, plus evening speaking sessions, to be announced. Admission free. Open 7 days.
For those inspired to Give-A-Little, donations most welcome at:
Give-A-Little: ‘Transplanted: Refugee Portraits of New Zealand’ donation page: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/refugeeportraitproject
Alistair Guthrie, Photographer
For over three decades Alistair Guthrie has been chronicling New Zealand through the pointed beauty of his lens. His award-winning art, design, advertising and editorial work has been featured by major advertising agencies throughout Australasia, and is often seen in Metro, North & South, The Listener and Ideologue, among many others.
His lush portraiture work, featured in this project, has captured this country’s best and brightest, ranging from politicians and thinkers (Helen Clark, Dame Ann Salmon), captains of high tech (Bill Gates, Steve Balmer), sportsmen (Richie McCaw, Daniel Carter, Colin Mead), to musicians (Lorde, Tim Finn, Dave Dobbyn), and artists and entertainers (Dick Frizzell, Reese Darby, The Topp Twins), to name just a few.
He has been a featured artist at John Leach Gallery, now Gow Langsford, and most recently was given a fifty-page retrospective of his career in F11 photography magazine. He has also been the recipient of the prestigious Brian Blake Memorial prize.
“To have something to offer, to contribute to humanity, to start a discussion, to open eyes, all of which are more difficult in this saturated medium, would be a fine thing.”
His work can be seen on his website at: http://www.alistairguthrie.com
Tracey Barnett, Producer
Tracey Barnett has been a contributing columnist and commentator for The New Zealand Herald, The Sunday Star Times, Radio Live, TVNZ and TV3, among others.
She is the author of The Quiet War on Asylum, a concise introduction to asylum issues in New Zealand and Australia, published by Bridget Williams Books.
She is also the creator of the asylum awareness campaign, We Are Better Than That and most recently, WagePeaceNZ, an educational initiative to raise awareness about refugee issues in New Zealand. She has argued extensively in the media against detention of asylum arrivals, particularly offshore, and has worked to see more refugees welcomed against today’s contentious political backdrop, having created the ‘Welcome #500Now: Refugees Enrich Us’ initiative.
She has sat on the board of the Asylum Seeker Support Trust and is currently on the Refugee Council of New Zealand.
Her work can be found at: http://www.traceybarnett.co.nz
Be A Part of It
Coming Soon to Wellington!
Transplanted: Refugee Portraits of New Zealand
National Portrait Gallery, Wellington
October 27 – November 5th.
Do you have a community group or school group that would like to visit the exhibition and check out the portraits and the ‘Human Library’? Would your community group like to hold its next meeting (daytime or evening) at the gallery to hear speakers on the issues? Call to schedule your group or volunteer now.
Ideas, energy, volunteers and funds are most welcome.
Contact Tracey Barnett at: email@example.com.
Donating and sharing our Give-A-Little page on social media is a great start too: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/refugeeportraitproject