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I’m an Artist Campaign to change attitudes

8 Oct 2014

This content is tagged as All Artforms .

NEWS

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Fraser Hoffe of Wellington is one of five artists to be featured in a national campaign aimed at changing attitudes and behaviour towards people with disabilities, sensory impairment and mental ill-health. The campaign will be launched in five cities over five weeks, starting in Wellington on Monday 6 October to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week.

Fraser, whose artwork will be on display from 6 to 13 October in CQ Hotels Wellington, has lived experience of mental ill-health. He describes his art as “playful, vibrant and tactile”.

The I’m an Artist Campaign will showcase Fraser and four other artists on huge posters, to be pasted up on streets in Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Arts Access Aotearoa is organising this social change campaign with funding from the Ministry of Social Development’s Making a Difference Fund. The campaign promotes disabled people and people with lived experience of mental ill-health as artists who make great art, often with the support and guidance of community-based creative spaces.

For Fraser, attending Vincents Art Workshop has been life-changing. “Before Vincents, I was homeless for about 15 years … living in boarding houses and moving around a lot. Vincents gave me a place to come to every day, and it focused my energy on being creative and making art.”

Fraser goes to Vincents Art Workshop every week day except Thursday (a women’s-only day at Vincents), when he goes to Pablos Art Studios.

Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa said: “There are many terrific artists in New Zealand who just happen to have a disability. This campaign focuses on five. Fortunately, they get support and motivation from innovative creative spaces such as Vincents and Pablos.

“However, these creative spaces are vulnerable to lack of funding and policy changes. Central and local government, health and welfare agencies, and the private sector all have a role to play in ensuring their sustainability.”

Statistics New Zealand figures show that in 2013 one in four (24 % or 1.1 million people) of New Zealanders was identified as having a disability.

“With an ageing population, this number will continue to grow,” Richard said. “Opportunities for creative expression and attendance at live performances and art galleries need to be accessible for everyone.”

The five artists and their creative spaces featured on the posters

  • Allyson Hamblett, a visual artist and media assistant at Spark Centre of Creative Development, St Lukes, Auckland, has cerebral palsy.
  • Kamini Nair, a visual artist at Sandz Studio and Gallery in Hamilton, has an intellectual disability.
  • Michael Krammer, a dancer and tutor with Jolt Dance in Christchurch, has autism.
  • Tanya Faiva, a visual artist at Studio2 in Dunedin, has a physical disability.
  • Fraser Hoffe, a visual artist at Vincent’s Art Workshop and Pablos Art Studios in Wellington, has lived experience of mental ill-health.

Five artist posters in their creative spaces.

Arts Access Aotearoa advocates for people in New Zealand who experience barriers to participation in the arts, as both creators and audience members. Its key stakeholders are people with physical, sensory or intellectual impairments; mental health service users; and the community and professional arts sectors. It’s also the key organisation in New Zealand facilitating the arts as a tool to support the rehabilitative process of prisoners.

Arts Access Aotearoa receives core funding from Creative New Zealand and has a contract with the Department of Corrections to support and advise on its arts activities and programmes.

** Statistics New Zealand defines a disability as “an impairment that has a long-term, limiting effect on a person’s ability to carry out day-today activities.