Art with a heart will help refugees

By Hope Burmeister | Posted: Thursday June 20, 2019

Art will be exchanged for household items as part of a new exhibition at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery opening today.

Social practice artist Tiffany Singh has produced 108 hand-made prints which will be available for people to collect if they give any household item for refugees recently arrived in the city.

The first day of the exhibition, today, coincides with World Refugee Day.

Bed sheets and covers, kitchen pots and pans, nappies and car seats are some of the items which can be exchanged.

However, people will need to be quick to claim one of the limited number of prints.

Singh, who is from Auckland, but lives in Thailand, said the exchange was an example of art making a difference in the community, and Dunedin was chosen as a place for the exhibition because it is a refugee resettlement location.

The project was called ''Make a House a Home''.

It was supported by Red Cross and aimed to help new refugees set up a home by giving them essential household items.

It was a way of connecting the audience to the artwork, Ms Singh said.

''Each print represents one small part of the larger project and its ambitions, forever linking those that have entered the exchange process.''

Made from natural materials, the prints symbolised a connection to the natural world.

The number of prints, 108, was also the number of beads in a mala, a religious prayer necklace.

''A mala is a supportive and protective tool to support transformation.''

As a social practice artist, Singh said she would never be an independent artist as she would always consider others when planning her artwork.

''Because of this, there is an element of letting go of control over the work, rather than being in control of its final aesthetic.''

Exchanges can be made over four days from 10am to noon: today, July 7, August 22 and September 23.

Original Article

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