On the 31st January 2020, Black Creative's Aotearoa launched its inaugural photography and poetry exhibition, Untold Secrets: Hidden Gifts of Our Ancestors. Held at Q Theatre, Auckland, the event showcased the talents of 21 black creatives based in Auckland, Wellington and Melbourne, who all call New Zealand home.
Over three months nine poets were supported to individually respond to the theme, while three photographers and their models did the same through their visuals. Founder, Dione Joseph who mentored the poets and curated the exhibition said the exhibition exceeded expectations:
"To have Q theatre filled to the brim with brilliant black creatives, to have portraits of our people line the walls, to have our poets' words activate the space and to have over seventy people celebrate these achievements right at the heart of Auckland's creative hub - was very likely one of the largest and most eclectic gatherings of black folk we have seen in Aotearoa."
A highlight of the evening also included giving voice to the nine poets by sharing excerpts from the different poems by the renowned black artist and activist, poet Sonya Renee Taylor. As her voice reverberated around the sharing the words of a hugely diverse group of poets - the room was shook!
AUT Associate Professor Camille Nakhid said: "Dione’s Untold Secrets need to be shared. First by us as black souls and then to those we find worthy of our secrets. In creating a weaving and connecting experience through poetry, photographs and reflections, last night’s exhibition filled us with our past, united us in our present and fortified us for our future."
Models: Tyler-Rae Daniels, Timothy Itayi, Abdul Kay, Lubamba Hannah Kazadi, Michelle Mascoll, Angela McCray, Mukukā Hope Musowa, Samuel Negash and Otchali Soares
Poets: poetry by Kara Areta Alice Beckford, Tammie Crystal, Romanni Dobson, Tsitsi Mapepa, Poata Alvie McKree, Vira Paky, Kii Small, Tarisai Tomu and Vanessa Umugabekazi
Photographers: Synthia Bahati, Vanessa Samuel and Diana Simumpande
The BCA Exhibition was unlike anything before done in Aotearoa. It made sure that not only we did honour to our ancestors, but ourselves and those beautiful artists. Moving forward, this opens the door for more korero around Black creative mahi in Auckland and of course, nationwide. This moment came at the perfect time.
Thank you again Black Creatives Aotearoa for creating such a powerful, magical space for us. For the first time in my existence in Aotearoa, I felt like I belonged. My heart is full and soul nourished.