Putting on a show of resistance

Last updated 05:00 13/10/2009
ARTISTIC EXPRESSION: Artist Graham Jury at the Explosive Expression exhibition in Wellington,  commemorating the anniversary of the 2007
ROSS GIBLIN/The Dominion Post
ARTISTIC EXPRESSION: Artist Graham Jury at the Explosive Expression exhibition in Wellington, commemorating the anniversary of the 2007 "terror raids".

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A confiscated police flag and a self-portrait by Maori activist Tame Iti are among more than 50 artworks being auctioned to mark two years since the "terror raids".

Iti will officially open the Explosive Expression exhibition tonight at Thistle Hall Gallery in Wellington, with the final auction on Saturday.

He is one of 17 people facing charges after the 2007 police raids, which resulted in the arrests of 18 people in Bay of Plenty, including at alleged military-style training camps in the Ureweras, under the Terrorism Suppression Act.

They were charged with more than 300 firearms charges, including possession of guns, Molotov cocktails and ammunition.

One person had the charges dropped, and 10 had charges reduced after a preliminary hearing last year.

Volunteers were setting up the exhibition yesterday. Artist and organiser Graham Jury said the aim was to raise awareness about the raids, as well as mark the anniversary.

"We need to take a stand against this ongoing process."

An exhibition was a way to celebrate freedom of thought after the raids, and art was a traditional form of protest, he said.

"We're concerned about the terror raids targeting people whose main crime has been to express contrary opinions to the Government.

"We're celebrating creativity in art in the face of encroachments on our freedom of speech."

The show was also a chance to raise funds for those facing charges, with the proceeds going towards legal fees and helping the families.

Iti's self-portrait, showing red eyes peering from a dark background, is expected to be popular, as is a confiscated police flag, with the words "rules and violence" spraypainted on it.

The work, No Reverence for the Badge, is by an artist using the pseudonym "Rob de Rich". It is unknown how he or she got the flag.

Other works range from paintings and photography to fabric works and jewellery.

Challen Wilson contributed an installation to the exhibition, and used the theme of honour. "Honour ourselves, honour each other, and honour our spirits."

Former MP Nandor Tanczos will host the auction.

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- The Dominion Post

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