Thousands of young people across Auckland have been asked to consider and document their hopes and dreams for an Auckland Arts Festival visual arts project created by highly-regarded and globally-recognised contemporary NZ artist, Tiffany Singh.
Singh has visited schools across Auckland for the Festival-commissioned work, ‘Fly Me Up To Where You Are’, which is a huge installation that will see Aotea Square come to life with thousands of flags conveying the young people’s hopes and dreams.
Drawing on the style of traditional Tibetan prayer flags, Auckland-based artist Singh has developed a work that extends its reach out into the communities of Auckland, by collecting and sharing the hopes and dreams from Auckland’s children in a public artwork to be displayed in the heart of the city. The resulting installation will comprise thousands of flags designed by children from all over the Auckland region, bringing their voices directly to the heart of the city. The project came about as a result of Singh’s experiences working with children in India, where she focused on teaching students to see themselves as storytellers.
At the flag-making workshops, the school students were asked to consider their hopes and dreams, before drafting their individual designs – picking up the paintbrushes and putting them to fabric. The results are hundreds of brightly coloured flags that talk to issues such as saving the environment, supporting their families and their future careers.
“This project aligns itself to the very relevant political and social agendas around child poverty and education. It provides a platform for the voices of those who are affected by these issues to be seen and heard collectively. With this work, I wanted to address these concerns in a positive and considered way, giving rise to the power of community and our responsibility to understanding the hopes and dreams of our future generations,” Singh reveals. “It is my hope and dream that, through facilitating this work, there is a conscious change in how we address our own backyard issues. We need to encourage more awareness around social and political ownership, whilst acknowledging the power we have to affect the direction of education and support in our communities.”
Filmmaker, director and designer Robert George has been filming the school workshops for a companion exhibition named ‘Fly Me Up To Where You Are: Te Waharoa’, which will open at Ponsonby’s Artstation just before the Aotea Square project.
The exhibition comprises film and images George gathered during the creation of ‘Fly Me Up to Where You Are’, and functions both as a documentary and as an artwork in its own right. It’s an opportunity to see work from one of NZ’s leading creative minds, and for anyone interested in Singh’s project to find out more.
While they are there, audiences will be able to create a dream flag of their own, which will be stitched together daily and added to the larger Aotea Square installation by textile artist Leanne Clayton.