Vibrant posters of artists have been appearing on street corners in main cities around the country as part of a national campaign to promote artists who happen to have a disability.
Artwork by Kamini Nair.
The I am an Artist campaign has been highlighting the abilities of artists, the impact being involved in art has made on their lives and the value of the studios and organisations that support them.
I am an artist
Christchurch dancer Michael Krammer has been looking at posters of himself plastered throughout the city centre. “It’s been very humbling to see myself around Christchurch on all street corners thinking ‘I know that person.’” Michael is one of five people selected to be the public faces of a nationwide campaign to promote artists who happen to have a disability.
The I am an Artist campaign aims to change attitudes towards people with a disability, sensory impairment or mental illness.
Michael, who has lived experience of autism, has been dancing with Jolt Dance for 12 years. “It’s a way that people like me can express themselves through different movements.” He says his involvement with Jolt has given him fantastic opportunities, built his confidence, has given him a sense of belonging and has made him feel that he is, in fact, a dancer. Michael hopes the I am an Artist campaign will help people realise that anyone can be an artist whether they have a disability or not.
Arts Access Aotearoa has organised the social change campaign with funding from the Ministry of Social Development’s Making a Difference fund.
The executive director of Arts Access Aotearoa Richard Benge says the campaign also wants to throw the spotlight on the studios and organisations around New Zealand that support the artists.
“What I am really concerned about is that there needs to be more support for creative spaces because they are often under-appreciated and under-funded.”
- Richard Benge
He says there needs to be a greater understanding of the value of creative spaces and what they achieve for the artists and for their families.
Kamini Nair came to live in Hamilton from Fiji ten years ago.
Every Wednesday you’ll find her at Sandz Gallery and Studio painting vibrant flowers that remind her of her homeland.
Kamini is a prolific artist who delights in selling her work. Sandz manager Samuel Nickalls says Kamini has a real sense of who she is and what her art practise is, “She makes beautiful, gorgeous, luscious paintings of flowers”.