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The shop window show: How artists and retailers are joining forces to help asylum seekers

An exhibition and auction about to hit the streets of downtown Auckland aims to raise awareness – and funds – for asylum seekers in desperate need, writes Keith Locke.

Close to 90 artists, each with a wooden picture frame. A theme: compassion for asylum seekers. And a venue: the shop windows of downtown Auckland, on a walking trail that leads from Britomart up through High St and Lorne St to the Auckland University of Technology. And all of it is for sale.

The Asylum Seekers Support Trust is raising money to help asylum seekers with an art auction featuring the work of many of our leading artists, including sculptor Jeff Thomson and painters Flox, Evan Woodruffe, Peata Larkin and Anna Leyland.

Karin Barr: ‘Boat Journey’

Each of the works reflects in some way a refugee’s journey and their welcome to a new home. They’ll be on show in shop windows from Saturday, April 22, and if you’re not able to walk the trail you can check them out on the STQRY app and the Frame Works website. Both the app and the website also contain stories about the art and the artists.

Most of the works are being sold through an online auction starting tomorrow, April 20, but a portion will be sold at a live auction and gala event on May 2 at the Quay Project in Britomart.

Robin Ranga: ‘Rescued’

Proceeds from both auctions will support the work of the Asylum Seekers Support Trust, which advocates for victims of persecution and gives them temporary accommodation through its Auckland hostel. Help is given with food, accessing medical care, education for children and English language classes.

Event curator Alix Bachmann says the “framework” theme reflects the needs of asylum seekers: “The framework of their lives has suddenly disappeared because of war, a change of political regime, persecution, violence and terror. They are looking for a safe haven, a place to rebuild their lives, to re-establish their framework of home, work, family and friends.”

Want to know more about the Asylum Seekers Support Trust? Call (09) 378-7434, email info@asst.org.nz or check out their website here.

Keith Locke, the former Green Party MP, is a board member of the Asylum Seekers Support Trust.

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More artworks from the exhibition and auction:

David Trubridge: ‘Untitled’

 

Joanna Fieldes: ‘Pieced Together, Peace Together’

 

Helen Holmes: ‘A Place to Call Home’


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