“Once you hear someone’s story, they’re no longer a statistic or a stranger,” says Tanya Nock.
Nock, the creative director of community arts hub Cultural Conversations, wants to break down the barriers between people with Beyond Borders, an exhibition that’s taken over the Refinery ArtSpace.
The exhibition, which features film, podcasts and art, explores assumptions around identity, Nock said.
“We just want people to open the door and listen.”
The stories include Jingjing Jackson’s tale of losing her husband, six months after arriving in New Zealand as a new migrant.
Jackson, who features in Bittersweet podcasts, which explores rebuilding after trauma, found herself without a home and unable to work due to her visa status.
The Nelson community wrapped itself around her, helping her find a place to live, and offering support, Jackson said.
“When I was crying people would come up to me, and listen to me. Nelson raised me up,” she said.
Stories of Otherness is a podcast examining privilege and identity. Among the participants is Arrun Pancha, a fourth-generation Kiwi, who talks about the aspects of Indian culture he’s maintained – like cooking and sport – and those he has lost, like language.
“Here I feel like an Indian and a Kiwi; in India, I’m told, you’re a foreigner, you’re definitely not an Indian,” Pancha said.
And Nock herself features, talking about being “invisible”. She gives the example of going into a restaurant with a Māori friend, where she was ignored in the way she wasn’t when she went to the same eatery with a Pākeha friend.
Belonging is a Tuku 23 film exhibition featuring 23 participants speaking for 230 seconds on connection and belonging.
There will also be art on display, including work from sewing group Global Stitch Up.
Nock would like to see the positive connections she’s sparked with Cultural Conversations spreading wider into the community, she said.
Beyond Borders runs from June 13 to 27 in the Refinery ArtSpace, 114 Hardy St. For more information see culturalconversations.co.nz/event-details/cultural-conversations-presents-beyond-borders.
Source: Stuff, Amy Ridout08:00, Jun 11 2023