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Exhibitions highlight NZ decision on Palestinian statehood

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"Nationwide photography exhibitions highlight NZ decision on Palestinian statehood as tensions rise in Gaza"

More than 50 photographers from New Zealand, South Africa, Palestine and Israel are exhibiting their work around the country this week to highlight New Zealand’s role in the upcoming UN decision on the recognition of Palestinian statehood in September.

The nationwide ‘Unrecognised’ exhibition is an international collaboration featuring bold images from apartheid-era South Africa, from the anti-apartheid protest movement in New Zealand, and from present-day occupied Palestine, supplied by prominent documentary photographers in each country.

The exhibition opening in Wellington last Friday coincided with a flare-up of violence in Gaza.

“The reasons for putting on the exhibition were driven home to everybody when we received a video message from Julie Webb-Pullman, a contributing photographer and news correspondent from Wellington currently working in Gaza” said Ben Knight, spokesperson for Concerned Citizens, the New Zealand-based group of artists responsible for organising the event.

“Julie told us she could hear air-strikes several blocks from her house as she was recording the message for us to play at the exhibition opening. She found out the next day that a 13-year-old boy was killed in the attack.”

Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s vote in the UN General Assembly in September will decide whether or not New Zealand recognises Palestine as a state.

“The overwhelming response to the exhibition around the country has made it clear that there is a groundswell of support in New Zealand for the recognition of a legitimate Palestinian state” says Knight.

“People feel that recognising Palestine’s right to a voice in the international community would be a positive step for the diplomatic negotiation of peace in Palestine. We hope Minister McCully takes this on board when he casts New Zealand’s vote next month” Knight says.

‘Unrecognised’ marks the 30th Anniversary of the Springbok tour anti-apartheid protests in New Zealand. In addition to showing in six cities in New Zealand, the ‘Unrecognised’ exhibition will also take place at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in East London, South Africa.

The exhibition features work from influential South African photography collective Afrapix, and acclaimed Israeli/Palestinian photographers ActiveStills.

An online auction featuring more than 100 works is open this week at www.concernedcitizens.co.nz, and a live auction will be held in Wellington tomorrow night from 5pm-8pm. All proceeds go to the Israel/Palestine-based ActiveStills photography collective.

END


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