“ART SPEAKS” Symposium

APRIL 21ST 2018



10am – 4pm: Symposium / Art Exhibition

Auckland Library and Q Theatre

MC Meta (Jazz hip hop MC and lecturer) (South Korea)
Robert Young (Aboriginal visual artist) (Melbourne AUS)
Mike Weston (Transmedia artist) (NZ)
Jimmy Kouratouros (Visual artist) (NZ)
Jos Wheeler (photographer) (NZ)
Rosanna Raymond (performance / Pasifika artist) (NZ)
Street Wisdom artists (buskers and streeties) (Auckland)


Our mission is to support new and aspiring artists on their journey by providing discussion and inspiration from successful diverse mentors across art forms both from New Zealand and internationally. We want to be a catalyst for youth arts empowerment and advocate the importance of soulful art in every community.


·      To show the mutual dependence of work and art in envisioning the future, via productive exchanges between fields of art and the creative industries; between social justice and artful expression. We will discuss and learn from artists both in New Zealand and from around the World as we celebrate and embrace cultural and artistic diversity and collaboration.


·     To inspire young artists and social activators to see art as a sustainable career and also a means of expression of a better world. Young artists will learn about business models, sustainability and partnerships.

·      To offer insights on building alternative models of urban creativity, social entrepreneurship, resilience and civic participation; that can help to shape the future of work and an evolving society.

Many artists today are deeply committed to making their practice able to respond to current and pressing social and environmental issues, and the changing ways we navigate and view the world. The potential of art for social change can be used to re-think the concept of work, and to help aspiring artists have a realistic framework within which to build their own practice and maintain sustainability whilst also being able to re-imagine our societies as more equitable and justice-based. We aim to embrace diversity of expression, and to explore an aesthetic world of possibility. 

The event will respond to these above elements.


Supported by: Auckland Council- Activate Auckland, Auckland Library, ISBIM, Q Theatre. 




10am – 4pm: FREE – Auckland Library

An art exhibition open plan flat floor layout of Library craft space, featuring live art being constructed.

Artists / musicians etc will all repsond throughout the day in seperate/joint sessions to questions e.g.: “what drives your art, and how have you managed to survive and be sustainable?”

“how important is social justice and positive expression in your practice?”

Possibility of break-out sessions.

Small live performances from Korean visiting musician MC Meta as a taster for the gig that same evening event at Q.


10am – Robert Young

11am -  Rosanna Raymond

12 noon – Mike Weston

1pm -  Jimmy James Kouratoras

2pm – Jos Wheeler

3pm – MC META


8PM-Midnight: $35 Q Theatre

MC META (Korea) and MC/host Pax Assadi.




We had an inspiring and vibe-filled day this year at Art Speaks with a small be very engaged audience through the day. Questions were around the sustainability of art and the ability to have a practice ongoing in Auckland. 

There were many cross-overs during the day with the presenters - all had experienced some sense of isolation in their art practice and had to establish ways on continuing, and being relevant. 

Sticking to their guns and going deeper into their own practice were some of the ways spoken about. Also some artists mentioned being able to tie in with corporations, (when they didn't dictate content too much), as being a useful survival tool. 

Developing bodies of work and a brand that can cross mediums were also ways that artists had used to allow the work to have a life of it's own and to speak to a broad audience whilst still retaining the message at its core. Examples of this were the "Behave" series of branding from Mike Weston, and the continued relevance of Pacific Sister and SaVAge K'lub for Rosanna Raymond. 

Robert Young has evolved a community support network to build youth expression, enterprise and self-awareness around identity through his work; Jimmy James K has avoided the political aspects of depicting imagery in art, and has instead raised the kaupapa of his expression to one about being "human" and joining in a discussion with time and space itself, above the boxes defining culture and race. 

We were buoyed during the day by the presence of the Piki Project from the Merge Cafe crew, a social enterprise being established and run by Streeties in Auckland, and also by music from Shadow and Wayne Hapi - part of the Street Wisdom collective of artists. 

All in all, participants and audience all agreed this is the beginning of very valuable and worthwhile discussion on the place of art in Auckland going forward. This is especially relevant considering the removal of Art from the Auckland Council's next forward planning document - a scary omission to be sure!


Until next year - Art Speaks 2019 - see you then!