Background In August 2107 a group of women marched to Parliament in the wind and rain to deliver a petition signed by over 2,800 people demanding a Royal High Commission of Inquiry into the New Zealand Family Court. This march inspired Mai I te Pō ki te Ao Mārama No Shame No Silence exhibition born to generate conversation about family violence and the implementation of family violence legislation in New Zealand Family Courts.
The Brief We wanted to be the creative driving force in creating and curating an exhibition that gave a platform for survivors/victims of family violence to have their say through art, to give them a voice, to empower them to tell their story and encourage others to do the same. All whilst raising money for Backbone Collective and the local Women’s Refuge.
The Work Let’s work backwards here, just to be jaunty. The No Shame No Silence exhibition featured over 20 artists from all over New Zealand. The background to this was at times challenging, rewarding, joyful, painful, heart rending and heart expanding. There is a saying in exhibition management that you can be a creator, or a curator, but not both. Yeah, whatever. We were both. We set the tone for the entire exhibition by creating the brand using the beautiful Kawakawa leaf as the hero. The bright green heart-shaped leaves of Kawakawa are a distinctive presence in the New Zealand bush, and Kawakawa’s medicinal properties are equally distinctive. Traditionally used by Māori not only as a medicine but also as a significant part of many ceremonies, Kawakawa is an important part of both the physical and spiritual worlds and revered for its innate healing power. The use of the two Kawakawa, one intact leaf (grief), enveloping the bug eaten leaf (healing). As the project manager (ably supported by the wonderful volunteers) we were the creative force behind by: Designing of the youth project Ensuring diverse voices were heard Meeting with and involving local iwi Creating AND curating artwork Developing the social media campaign Designing the website Designing and producing the supporting marketing material Designing and producing internal and external exhibition signage Managing the petition Marching on Parliament (in the rain... again) Managing the launch event Engaging and managing all exhibition pieces
The Challenge There was so much to do and we had to wear so many hats on this project! As a curator, designer, project lead, project manager we wore them all. We juggled all the moving parts and we had to remember where each part was at, at all times. We had to manage various committees including local iwi and partnered with numerous businesses and organisations. We sought funding, and at all times we had to ensure the space was safe and comfortable for people to tell their stories – warning banners, links to resources, and support phone numbers. And tissues. Lots of tissues.