On Tuesday 8th September the National Committee and a few staff from People First New Zealand gathered together in the foyer of their building with friends from Disabled Persons Assembly, Alpha Street Art Studio and others.  It was a celebration of art that brought them there – with butterflies fluttering across the walls, brightening the space and lifting the heart.

 

MidSouth Regional President Craig Bellis gave a speech, telling how a piece of art seen in 2013 had led to a competition now held every year and the current exhibition of art from around the country.  The competition was held for the second time in late 2014/ early 2015 and artists with learning disability were invited to enter artwork in whatever form they chose – be it a painting, a drawing, a sculpture or photos. The theme for the artwork simply had to be that of the butterfly – the logo for People First NZ.

 

The winners of the 2015 competition were congratulated and thanks were given to everyone that took part, including support from:

Zeus Hakaraia from Tahi Design, who helped the National Committee to know what they were looking for in a winning entry, and for making the winner into the Card of the Year

Alpha Street Art Studio, IHC for mounting the art on the walls.

 

People were then able to take their time to look at the artwork and discuss the competition over morning tea.  Northern Region President Raymond Thoumine thought that the “winner of the card of the year is really nice, it’s really bright.” People First Kapiti member Maxine Snowden agreed, adding “I think it is very good. They did a good effort on their pictures and got nice colours, nice shapes and they’ve done well.” Newly re-elected Wellington People First President Stephen Hallett liked the “the ones with the Māori designs” the best.

 

Top of the South Regional President Don Neal thought the exhibition was a good idea, saying “It’s good how People First is using their artwork for their cards. I think it’s a great achievement for people with learning disability to have their artwork on the walls, coz that just shows we can do it if we want.”

 

The exhibition will run for 3 weeks from 8-29 September 2015 and the competition is expected to be run again around Nov 2015-Feb 2016.