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Staking Our Claim ... for a GE Free Aotearoa

31 October 2001

Press Release

A photographic exhibition of New Zealanders' who oppose the release of GE organisms into our environment.

November 2 - 5, Shed 11, Queens Wharf. Wellington

Opening night 6pm November 1st

Alannah Currie, formerly with 80's pop band Thompson Twins, three months ago volunteered to organize a public awareness campaign around the country. From this meeting of the GE Free Coalition in Auckland, today she is fulfilling her promise to all the New Zealanders' who have entrusted her with their images - she shall present them to the Government in an exhibition called "Staking our Claim ... for a GE Free Aotearoa.

She began the campaign by phoning friends in the fashion industry - Marilyn Sainty . Zambezi .World . Karen Walker . DNA - asking them to create t-shirts with GE Free slogans on them. She then called all the celebrities she could think of and asked them how they stood on the GE issue and if they wanted to use their celebrity to promote public awareness . Every day for the next several weeks, using her house was as a photographic studio, fashion photographers Deb and Mark Smith shot pictures of celebrities, scientists, doctors, dancers, vicars, and ordinary extraordinary people from all walks of life, each wearing a different GE Free t shirt. They called their project "UP Against the Wall". These photopraphs were then used in national press and on billboards around Auckland inviting people to participate in the September 1st rally up Queen Street.

To further expand the campaign, another friend set up a website www.gefreenz.com with galleries of these photographs and information on genetics and their effect on our environment.

New Zealanders from all over the country have been encouraged to send photographs of themselves and their friends in locations they wish to be kept GE Free, to add to this growing collection, either online or through the post. Photographs have been received from as far away as Los Angeles, Sydney and London.

Inspired by Alannah's campaign, Christchurch artist Rudolf Boelee began in his home town photographing images of willing faces to be included under the GE Free banner. These were gathered for Alannah's campaign but in the interim, he mounted them in a local exhibition which was a great success.

Boulee then booked the Beehive foyer in which to take the collective to the Government in an exhibition called "In Your Face" but due to recent security upgrades, another venue had to be sourced.

Together with the Wellington GE Free Coalition, Kara Vandeleur, Kay Baker and Charlotte Huddleston have mounted the installation - images vary from portrait photos, documentary photographs and moving images of recent GE Free movement over the last few months. These include both still & moving imagery of recent events in this most recent chapter of action, including shots of the Hikoi en route to Parliament as it travelled south through the north island; the 10,000 strong march in Auckland and the great Day of Action in Wellington.

Individuals are invited to add their image onto the installation which has been designed to be an ever-changing, ever-growing organic work in progress with the mobility in mind allowing the exhibition to travel around the country to continue to grow and gather more faces in this powerful and personal "petition" to Government.

Ends


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