The Power of Shelter

Photograph by Dawn Dutton

No matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent place to live. We deserve to feel strength and stability day after day. We deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures. At Habitat for Humanity, this is what unites us. Through shelter, we empower. Our shared vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Because you, me, we — we’re all humans.  And every single one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future.

 Whangarei Art Museum is delighted to be showing The Power of Shelter, an exhibition by Habitat for Humanity Northland. While society may recognise a problem, many are living a crisis and Habitat for Humanity work in our community and around the world to establish real solutions. This exhibition and upcoming art auction is one of them; as all proceeds raised at the auction will go towards the build of a home for a Northland whanau in housing need.

The brief was simple – The Power of Shelter. Crafted with this concept in mind, the response features art forms including sculptures, paintings, textiles, and carvings created by 13 local artists and 7 Prisoners (and their art tutor) from Northland Regional Corrections Facility near Kaikohe.

Habitat for Humanity puts great value on their partnership with Corrections and it goes well beyond the creativity fostered in this project.  Over the last four years prisoners have built three homes. Whilst doing so the prisoners have gained Level 3 Certificates in Building Construction, preparing them for a future career while also giving back to a deserving family in our community who will one day own the home. Corrections and Habitat believe that supporting prisoners into stable employment is key to improving the lives not only offenders, but also of their families and the community.

Each of these homes are lifted over the prison walls and relocated across Northland to house whanau through Habitat for Humanity’s Home Ownership Programme. This programme provides simple, decent homes for those living in substandard housing. Habitat’s partner families are involved in building their house and pay for their home on an affordable basis. Rather than providing a hand-out, Habitat provides a hand-up; empowering whanau through shelter.

We invite you to contemplate why shelter has power, and how artwork can engage new ideas within our community as a way to support Habitat for Humanity.  The link between art and action is very real. It is hoped that your encounter with this artwork will help us identify with one another, expand our notions of we, and motivate thinking into doing.

Anastasia Baranova

Anneke Muiijlwijk

Bevan Holmes

Claire Furlong

Dawn Dutton

Gabi Pfaender

Housing New Zealand Northland Team

Joanna Skyrme

Katherine Batchelor

Kim Johnson

Mark Burkill

Suzanne Liddall

Leanne Hopper

Prisoners of Ngawha Correctional Facility