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Kimi Ora Community School Keeps on Winning

Kimi Ora Community School Keeps on Winning.

An innovative exhibition put together with enthusiasm and aroha by Flaxmere school children, a “rock star” photographer, and Hastings City Art Gallery has achieved one of the highest national accolades.

On Sunday evening #keeponkimiora won the Exhibition Excellence – Art category of the ServiceIQ New Zealand Museum Awards. At the awards were two of the gallery’s team, Tryphena Cracknell and Elham Salari.

#keeponkimiora is a fantastic example of ‘co-curation’ developed through an artist in residence, who was able to develop relationships with the students and the school. It was particularly impressive that the students were involved with all parts of exhibition development from concept to delivery.

Cracknell said the atmosphere at the event and the judges’ feedback on #keeponkimiora and artist Edith Amituanai were really testament to Edith’s arts practice and the gallery’s vision to work closely with our community. “There was such a fantastic buzz of excitement and mutual support at the event. It was a real honour to accept this award on behalf of the gallery, and most of all, on behalf of Edith and the Kimi Ora Community School students.”

The judges said the collaborative ethos of this project reflects the Hastings City Art Gallery’s mission to extend new art opportunities to the communities. They praised it as “an inspiring project that shows the importance of encouraging agency and a sense of belonging within our art institutions.”

Gallery director Toni MacKinnon said the Service IQ NZ Museum Awards attracted quality entries, so to win the category was exceptionally pleasing for the gallery and wonderful acknowledgement for the gallery team in particular Tryphena Cracknell and Jonathan Brown who brought the project to fruition.
“At the gallery we are working very hard and very deliberately on increasing the breadth of exhibitions that involve our people, and #keeponkimiora is a real example of this.”

“New Zealand-renowned photographer Edith Amituanai worked with children from Kimi Ora Community School in Flaxmere and exhibited the resulting works to our residents in our district gallery.”

“Working with our children, in particular, has a number of advantages; it opens them to experiences they may not otherwise have; normalises spending time in facilities like our gallery which will lead to them enjoying them into adulthood; and, in this case, put them right out front as the subjects and the artists in the exhibition.”

Edith Amituanai took her cameras into the school and held photography workshops with the children, before letting them loose to take their own photos. The results were amazing, said MacKinnon.

“Children often seem to have a natural eye for composition and light. We were very proud to have their work hanging in the gallery.”

Amituanai said the national acknowledgement of the exhibition was recognition of the effort that the children had put in, as well as everyone else involved. “It was very much ‘our project’, the children, myself and the gallery – very much a three-part harmony.”


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