Launch of new writing by Migrants

Helping others find the courage to write has been a long-time goal of Rotorua writer Angie Belcher. Now, with the support of Rotorua English Language Partners, Rotorua Civic Arts Trust, Rotorua Creative Communities and the Matatuhi Foundation, her dream of running a series of creative writing workshops for migrants has come to fruition.

The project, known at To Our Shores involved teaching and mentoring groups of migrants as they negotiated the process of telling and writing their stories in poetry and prose then having selections of the writing artistically interpreted before being published as a collection.

‘Giving voice to new New Zealanders gives them the opportunity to share their stories, hopes and dreams as well as helping us understand their needs’ says Belcher.’ It provides opportunities for us to gain cultural knowledge and to develop greater empathy towards each other’.

Brazilian born graphic artist Lucia Lemos Monteiro Conceicao, a workshop participant, has been busy artistically interpret the writing as a series of bold, colourful photographic prints which portray aspects of the writing and culture shared by the individual participants.

‘Reading the poetry and studying the country helps me connect with the writer,’ says Conceicao who has found Vanuatu the most challenging to date. ‘I had never heard of this country so had to learn so much. Now, I love it!”

Known in Brazil for her artistic designs portrayed on fabric, this will be her first exhibition in New Zealand since arriving in 2018 and the first using photographic prints.

The exhibition to be held at The Rotorua Arts Village from27 March to 18 April will coincides with the launch of Mixed- a Collection of Creative Writing by Newcomers To Our Shores being published by Stromboli Press.

The book, a collection of poems and stories illustrated with the art, are as diverse as the writers themselves. Ranging from war-torn Bosnia to the frenetic pace of life in Japan, all twenty five contributors delve into creative writing to express and share the anxieties, dreams and journeys that preceded their arrival to our shores.

It is hoped that those who get the opportunity to read the words, hear stories and appreciate the art will have a greater appreciation of the migrant’s struggles, separations and successes as they negotiate both a new land and new ways of expressing their feelings.

Media Release on 18 February 2020

Media Contact
Angie Belcher
Phone: 021 024 88981