Korero Exhibition May 2016

Debra Bathgate Debra Bathgate, Be. Leadership alumna, tells us about the exhibition "Korero" that she co-curated during this year's NZSL week.
This is the second year Korero exhibition has run, and yes there will be more!

The event has been hosted for the past two years at the fantastic Toi Ora art space, in Grey Lynn. This is the second year this event has been run with artists and staff from Toi Ora collaborating to get the exhibition off the ground. Tricia Hall from Toi Ora was the driving force behind last year’s exhibition- she is a student of sign language and was keen to get something happening for NZSL week. This year it was curated by artists Amy Blinkhorne and Debra Bathgate. The exhibition is a celebration of Deaf artists, an opportunity for creating a connective art experience, and to raise awareness of Deaf culture.
Rachel Coppage's painting Black Heart 2, shows a silhouette of two hands forming a shape against a black heart against a black background 6 deaf and hearing impaired artists participated in this year’s exhibition, which was a mixture of painting, mixed media, digital and monochrome photography. Exhibiting this year were Racheal Coppage, Abbie Twiss, Amy Blinkhorne, Jack Lee, (painters), Lesley Lung (mixed media) and Debra Bathgate (photography).

Debra Bathgate's abstract digital print shows a swirl of colours: orange, red, black, white.Many people attended the opening on Saturday 7th May, which was hosted by Toi Ora staff alongside the artists themselves. There was an NZSL interpreter provided for the whole day. At the opening we invited a conversation around getting New Zealand Sign Language into the community in a big and bold way, connecting artists and viewers with different interpretations and expression of art, and art as a celebration of culture.

Abbie Twiss's painting shows a torso wearing a green shirt with a Peace symbol on it. The head on top of the torso is the planet earth. A red arrow indicates the right hand moving up the left forearm- which is the NZSL sign for A drawing workshop run by Abbie Twiss followed the opening, which was really popular with around 15 to 20 people participating. Participants were invited to replicate an object of their choice, with instruction and guidance from our tutors. This was a real highlight of the exhibition, to see the integration of Deaf and hearing people united in their art making.

This year saw a big turnout from the Deaf community, which is high on the objective list, as many events are not accessible. Maori TV acknowledged the importance of this event running a segment of the exhibition on Te Kaea.

This year our artist numbers were up on 2015, and we expect this to continue to grow in the future. We welcome any Deaf artists to get involved with this project in the future.

The day was a huge success, we’re looking forward to next year already- see you there!

Debra Bathgate