Exhibition in support of the Urewera 18

Our most recent event raised over $6,000 for the defendants in the Urewera 18 ‘terror raids’ case, but more importantly, it got hundreds of people all over the country talking about the issues surrounding the case: such as the roles of the police, government, and media in the public perception of ‘activism’ vs. ‘terrorism’, and the importance of legitimate dissent in a healthy democracy. It also riled up a few people that needed a bit of a shake-up and allowed us to respond in a public forum.

If you couldn’t make it to the exhibition and you’d like to show your support for the defendants, please visit October 15th Solidarity and make a donation.

In addition to hosting a massive online art auction, we used a catapult to launch ‘buses’ at George Bush to test the feasibility of the assassination plot the police said was planned by these so-called terrorists.

Contributing artist Emulsion Burns documented the first trial run of our homegrown weapon of mass destruction in this beautiful short film:

 

Press release:

More than 50 artists from around New Zealand will be exhibiting work in Wellington at the start of next month to raise funds and public awareness for the arrestees of the 2007 October 15 “terror raids.” Exhibited works range from paintings, sculptures, and animation, to a reproduction of the assassination device police claim “terror raids” arrestees planned to use – a catapult designed to launch a bus onto the head of former US president George Bush.

According to contributing artist and spokesperson Lance Ravenswood, the charges against the 18 arrestees of the October 15 raids are “just silly. Any sensible person should feel that the police and courts need a good telling-off about the way they’ve been behaving.” A number of prominent figures have also spoken out against the han dling of the case, including civil rights lawyer Moana Jackson and Professor Jane Kelsey.

“Why have these people been denied a trial by jury? Why is there so much secrecy surrounding the legal proceedings? The police seem to be equating legitimate political and environmental activism with terrorism,” says Ravenswood.

Richard Meros, author of On the Conditions and Possibilities of Helen Clark Taking Me as Her Young Lover, will be exhibiting a piece in a similar tone, entitled Your Honour We Eat These Charges For Breakfast, featuring berry-soaked strips of the 2002 Terrorism Suppression Act (TSA).

“This muesli celebrates the afternoon the Solicitor General’s office struck down the use of the TSA against those arrested on October 15, 2007, reminding bowels and brains that the charges of terrorism were not even strong enough to be presented to a court” says Meros.

The exhibition will open at the Garrett Street exhibition space on Friday June 3rd at 4:30pm, followed by a screening of Errol Wright and Abi King-Jones’ documentary about the October 15th raids, “Operation 8: Deep in the Forest”. Viewing will continue over the weekend.

“We’re concerned about whether justice is being done here. Lots of people in the community have questions about this case – we want them to get together, experience some great art, and talk about what’s going on,” says Lance Ravenswood. “As artists, we want to do what we can to help 18 New Zealanders who are being punished, before the trial even takes place, by an immense financial burden in a drawn-out battle against extremely questionable charges. That’s why we’re donating our work, to raise funds to support the defendants and their families through the trial.”

The Concerned Citizens exhibition will feature work from up and coming as well as more established artists, including Peter Madden, Roger Morris, Bryce Galloway, Arlo Edwards, Kerry Ann Lee, and Tao Wells, creator of the controversial Beneficiary’s Office installation in 2010.

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