On Saturday 10th April Te Papa opened The Mixing Room, stories from young refugees in New Zealand to the contributors, their families and of course the public. Over 250 people gathered from Nelson, Hamilton, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North in the Wellington Foyer and the Red Couches meeting room to eagerly await the formalities of the opening.
Invited guests warmly received speeches by Michelle Hippolite, Te Papa’s Kaihautū and Acting CEO, Joris de Bres, Race Relations Commissioner Kaihautū Whakawhanaunga-ā-Iwi, Anita Azizi from Afghanistan and Abdalla Gabriel from Sudan, two of our young refugee advisors and key contributors in the development of the Mixing Room exhibition.
Once the doors opened to gallery, I encountered shrieks of laughter, flooding tears, proud parents beaming smiles…and that was just me! Seriously, it was amazing and people were so thrilled to see what their work and commitment had culminated in. Talk about ‘The Mixing Room’! At one stage I counted 23 different ethnic communities engaging with each other and the content of the show.
The fun continued on throughout the afternoon with a diverse events programme on the Marae here at Te Papa. From Myanmar dancers, Sudanese poetry readings, Congolese hip hop dancers and all MC’d by our very own Kristelle.
Thanks to everyone around the country who have made this one of the most engaging, rewarding and meaningful projects I personally have ever worked on. For more photograph check out The Mixing Room’s Flickr photo stream
Best wishes and keep visiting,
Sarah ‘LIVE & DIRECT’ from ‘The Mixing Room’