A different look at war

As Wellingtonians commemorate Anzac Day, a Cuba St art venue is offering an experience that will march to the beat of a different drum.

Thistle Hall is sponsoring artists, performers, historians and peace activists to prepare for the two-week exhibition, Remember the Peacemakers, from April 20.

The first portion of the exhibition, Disrupting the Narrative, from April 20, is by the Art Not War Collective, a group of Wellington-based artists and activists.

It uses contemporary art, history and public talks to challenge common views about New Zealand's role in World War I and it suggests links to current issues to show how war affects different groups of people.

Art Not War Collective member Valerie Morse said the exhibition was about challenging ideas New Zealanders had about World War I.

"As New Zealand gets ready to send troops again to Iraq, it's really important for people to understand that there are some very important, not just historical parallels, but explicit historical linkages between New Zealand's role in World War I and what's going on right now," she said.

The second portion, Making Peace, from April 27, will feature a song-writing workshop, a dance performance and forums for discussion with New Zealand and international artists.

Volunteer Claire Harris has organised the seven artists who will talk about making peace.

"It [the exhibition] will have a certain kind of immediacy and genuineness," she said.

"The people involved are responding to ideas of disrupting the narrative and making peace in a way that isn't pre-packaged into a national celebration."

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Artist Graham Wills said it would bring together peacemakers from the Wellington community and beyond.

"My hope is that it will trigger a serious walk beside the commemoration."

Wills will lead a panel discussion titled Peace Museum: An idea whose time has come? on May 2.

Visit thistlehall.org.nz for a full schedule of events.

 - The Wellingtonian

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