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Press Release – COCA Gallery

In response to the recent terror attacks, Christchurchs Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) will give over the gallery walls to our community to write and reflect
In response to the recent terror attacks, Christchurch’s Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) will give over the gallery walls to our community to write and reflect

As our community comes to terms with the loss of 50 innocent lives, CoCA will open the gallery walls for people to write and process their thoughts. The words “Love Lives Here” are imprinted on our main gallery wall, setting the tone for people to add their own words to the walls in response to the Mosque attacks of March 15th.
Artists from around New Zealand and across the globe have added their voices, sending text to be contributed to the walls on their behalf, alongside those from local artists, visitors and the people of Christchurch.
CoCA was scheduled to open the exhibition ‘The Freedom of the Migrant’ by Matthew Galloway but a joint decision between the gallery and the artist was made to withdraw the exhibition in light of the tragic events. Matthew Galloway states: ‘The Freedom of the Migrant critically addresses the harmful political narratives we have allowed to exist concerning terrorism and refugees. Though I believe the research and questions this show presents are more important than ever, the decision to withdraw the show acknowledges that this is a time for mourning, processing what has happened, and supporting the communities so deeply affected by this horrific act.’
Christchurch artist, Julia Holden, was also to open a solo exhibition in our North gallery but has graciously withdrawn her exhibition to offer us the opportunity to hand over our gallery in full to the public. Both artists will have exhibitions at CoCA at a later date.
Reflecting the unity of our community, strengthened by this tragedy, the gallery has received unconditional support in many forms from the Canterbury Museum, Resene, Signtech, Carters, White Tie Catering, McHargs, and artists Matthew Galloway, Julia Holden, Rob Upritchard, Wayne Youle, and Julia Morison ONZM. The paint pens for writing on our walls have been generously donated by Ironlak, an Australian paint and art supplies company.

“We offer over this space to our community to come together, contemplate, and process this tragic event in our city. It is of the utmost importance this is done with integrity and with sensitivity toward the Muslim members of our community who have been directly affected. I have consulted with Dr Anwar Ghani, Media Liaison for the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand and we have his support,” says CoCA Director, Romy Willing.

CoCA will launch the space to Press and invited guests on Friday March 29th at 5:30pm. We will officially open to our community on Saturday March 30th at 10am and will remain open until June 2nd.

For those who wish to contribute their words from afar, text may be sent to loveliveshere@coca.org.nz

As-salāmu ‘alaykum
ends

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