VOICE II (2017)
“This is New Zealand fashion, NOT Asian fashion!” - Emeritus Professor Manying Ip, School of Asian Studies, University of Auckland.
VOICE II aims to revisit what it means to be a New Zealander and to create a space for those New Zealand born who are of Asia descent, as well as people who are born overseas and resident in New Zealand.
Participants responded to a student notice at the University of Auckland and there were 24 interviews conducted and 23 portrait photographs made - one of the interviewees opted out because she later felt uneasy about what she said during the interview. The interviews aim to offer: unfold their diverse perspectives culturally and socially, identify invisible prejudices and stereotypes layers surrounding their life in New Zealand, unpack some aspect of identity crisis, and evaluate how we can value and respect all of our communities. An ongoing question for me is how to promote Pākehā and Māori people to see what I see those invisible layers when they don’t have those perspectives and experiences.
Portraiture photographs were undertaken separately from the interviews. The locations for the photos were mainly chosen by the participants: representing their identity, belongingness and nostalgia. The current set of photographs function as a record of the participants everyday lives and their identity.
Cultural background of my interviewees are American, New Zealand, Chinese, German, Indian, Korean, Taiwanese, Filipino, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Indonesian, French, Japanese, Zimbabwe, Australian and Thai backgrounds - this is in the interview date order.
The conversation is timely in New Zealand and globally. Locally, we have a new government that has started the interesting and challenging ways and discussions on this subject is going to be accelerated even more.