The one surviving event of the RESET Arts Festival opens at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery this week.
A photography exhibition named Through The Eye of Taranaki is a collaboration between Taranaki Arts Festival and Track Zero, a national organisation that uses the arts to inspire transformative climate action.
Founder of Track Zero Sarah Meads said the organisation created platforms to connect with people and empower them to take action. The project wasn't just about getting students to pick up cameras, but teaching them science and encouraging them to share their views on the topic through photography.
"We brought in some climate scientists so that they had an understanding of the very latest climate science, before they got to workshop with photographers to use the camera to tell their story about climate change.
"We hope the project helps to spark ideas and inspire storytelling that people can relate to on an emotional level, because often the data and the graphs of climate science is quite impersonal."
The exhibition was a starting point for people to have discussions and get more involved, especially youth, whose voices Meads said were vital given they are inheriting a rapidly changing climate.
"It also gives them an understanding they can be part of something bigger than themselves to make change."
TAFT have partnered with Enviroschools to deliver this project with 15 rangatahi from around the maunga given the exciting opportunity to participate. Participating schools include Pātea and Manaia, Spotswood College, Highlands Intermediate and North Taranaki Home Educators.
The project started with a climate issues workshop with leading earth systems scientist Professor Tim Naish and then into a series of photography workshops with professional photographers Camilla Rutherford and Taranaki-local Tania Niwa, including a field trip to Pou at Te Rere o Kapuni – Dawson Falls.
The exhibition, in Govett Brewster's Education space, features an image from all 15 students with powerful statements sharing their own views on climate change alongside photos from Camilla and Tania.
TAFT artistic director Megan Brown says, "Amidst Covid cancellations and the impact the pandemic continues to have on our arts industry and live events, it's so exciting to see this project come to fruition.
"Not only has this been an incredible way for students from across the region to connect, spark conversation and learn about climate change, but to then culminate in the exhibition at the Govett Brewster Art Gallery is an exciting way for the project to be showcased to the community."
Lauree Jones, Enviroschools regional coordinator, was excited to be a part of the project.
"It was an honour to be able to work with so many keen and passionate rangatahi from across Taranaki and be able to link them up with iwi and professionals. These young artists have really inspired our team."
Track Zero is working with young people around the country to produce exhibitions in Wānaka, Taranaki, Tairāwhiti and Te Whanganui-a-Tara, that are showcased during each region's arts festival. Through the Eye of Taranaki is supported by Creative New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment.
What: Through The Eye of Taranaki Exhibition:
Where: Govett Brewster Art Gallery
When: November 5-14