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Kākano Youth Arts Collective Celebrates 10 Years Of Community Impact!

Ki te mea ka taka te kākano ki te wāhi e tika ana ka tinaku, ā, ka pihi ake he tipu hou.

If a seed falls in the right place it will germinate and a new seedling will sprout.

20 December 2023 - Kākano Youth Arts Collective is celebrating ten years of community impact this month, with a special debut group exhibition by four of their young wāhine emerging artists.

Kākano is a unique visual arts youth initiative based at Corban Estate Arts Centre (CEAC), created specifically for vulnerable youth (ages 12 - 20yrs) in West Auckland.

Artist and educator Mandy Patmore founded the Collective in 2013 initially as a pilot programme, in response to a need she was seeing in her community. At that time she was Education Manager at CEAC.

“I was tired of getting phone calls from Police, social workers and alternative education providers, asking me if we had any art programmes suitable for a young person who was in a bit of trouble. We didn't have any. So I thought, bugger this, and I created one,” says Mandy.

Since 2013, Kākano has supported 80 young people to realise and develop their artistic abilities and carve out a brighter future for themselves. This is especially significant considering the amount of time, energy and relationship/trust building that goes into each young person. For many in the group, Kākano is the only place where they can feel supported, safe and free to be themselves.

Kākano means seed. The small team of art tutors look for the tiniest seed of artistic interest and grow this, using multidisciplinary and innovative visual arts practices. The results are often fairly immediate, and very meaningful to the young people. Through Kākano they have the opportunity to grow their art practice, their confidence and self-worth. This is huge for these rangatahi who for most of their lives have felt worthless, lost and without a sense of belonging.

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“Kākano is so much more than an arts programme - we are whānau. Art has this amazing power to heal and transform. I have watched lost children grow into the most incredible adults, and I’ve learnt as much from them as I have taught,” Mandy explains.

In the last ten years the Collective has grown significantly and now consists of studio sessions (3 times a week), the Kākano Gallery in the heart of Henderson Town Centre - where artwork made by the rangatahi is displayed for public viewing and purchase, regular mural and public art commissions across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, and free community art workshops led by the young artists.

'If you'd told me ten years ago when I started the pilot programme where this road would lead, I wouldn't have believed it. It’s been an amazing journey, and an absolute honour! These young people have touched my life in the most profoundly beautiful way.”

Kākano Youth Arts Collective is celebrating ten years of community impact with the opening of ‘We Have Something To Say’ featuring artwork from Kākano artists; Georgia, Lani, TJ and Eveyz. The works represent the continuously evolving ideas of personal freedoms, unique identities, and vital statements of self-love - a fitting theme to recognise the resilience and inherent potential and worth of these young people.

The event will take place on Wednesday 20th December, 6pm - 8pm at the Kākano Gallery, 3/326 Great North Road, Henderson. It is free to attend, all welcome.

‘We Have Something To Say’ will be open for viewing at the Kākano Gallery, 3/326 Great North Road, Henderson from 21st - 23rd December, 9am - 3pm, and then 16th January - 17th February 2024, 9am - 3pm.

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