Saturday, November 27

Nelson’s art exhibition shows Rangatahi perspective on climate change


A group of scientists, photographers and students are behind a Nelson exhibit showing how the Rangitahi view climate change.

A group of scientists, photographers and middle school students are behind a Nelson exhibit showing how young people view climate change.

A group of scientists, photographers and middle school students are behind a Nelson exhibit showing how young people view climate change.
Photo: Supplied / Raymond Sagapolutele

The Through The Eye of Whakatū exhibition features the work of 16 middle school students, following a series of workshops with climate scientists and photographers.

It is part of the Nelson Arts Festival, which was forced to cancel several of its shows due to Covid-19 alert level restrictions.

Led by Track Zero, founder Sarah Meads said the organization created platforms to connect with people and empower them to take action.

The project was not just about getting intermediate level students to take cameras, but about teaching them science and encouraging them to share their views on the subject through photography.

“We brought in some climate scientists to understand the latest in climate science, before they came to the workshop with the photographers to use the camera to tell their story about climate change.”

They taught workshops on climate issues with Earth systems scientists, Dr. Jamey Stutz and Claudia Moore, and were later mentored by award-winning photographers Raymond Sagapolutele and Tatsiana Chypsanava.

Nelson intermediate students participated in photography and climate science workshops organized by Track Zero.

Nelson intermediate students participated in photography and climate science workshops organized by Track Zero.
Photo: Supplied / Raymond Sagapolutele

For some, it was the first time they had taken a camera.

“These young people not only express themselves and share their ideas about how climate change is impacting their community, their lives and their environment, their statements to accompany their images are really powerful, it shows you how deeply they have thought these issues.”

After the workshops in Nelson, the region experienced extreme rains which, according to Meads, were a wake-up call to how quickly the climate was changing.

“We hope that the project aims to generate ideas and inspire stories that people can relate to on an emotional level, because often the data and graphs in climate science are quite impersonal.”

The exhibition was a starting point for people to debate and get more involved, especially young people, whose voices, according to Meads, were vital as they are inheriting a rapidly changing climate.

“It also gives them the idea that they can be part of something bigger than themselves to make changes.”

The exhibition can be viewed through the windows of the Nelson Provincial Museum and in the Track Zero website.

His exhibition, Through the Eye of Whakatū, is currently in the Nelson Provincial Museum.

His exhibition, Through the Eye of Whakatū, is currently in the Nelson Provincial Museum.
Photo: Supplied / Raymond Sagapolutele

Nelson Middle School teacher Sarah Johns said it was a wonderful opportunity for students to have agency and find their voice when it came to climate change.

One of the photographs in the exhibition shows the footprints of seagulls in the sand of Tahunanui beach and the artist’s explanation spoke about how in the next few years that part of the beach would no longer be visible.

Johns said it was important for the Rangitahi to be involved in the climate change conversation.

“It’s really empowering for them as young people and I think it strengthens that resistance to a lot of these wicked issues that are in the media, that are in dinner table conversations, that are in the news, and that they can to make sense of it. “

Track Zero is working with youth across the country to produce exhibits in Wānaka, Taranaki, Tairāwhiti, and Whanganui-a-Tara, which are on display during each region’s art festival.


www.rnz.co.nz

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