In this article, I examine how a participatory painting project in Wellington enhanced cross-cultural understanding between former refugee and host-society participants and enabled a more inclusive urban narrative. In light of the current global humanitarian crisis, a climate of fear has arisen around refugees, which is often exacerbated by the media perpetuating misinformation and negative stereotypes. To counteract misrepresentation, the painting project provided a space for participants to share their lived experiences of home, belonging, and public visibility. A scholar-activist orientation was employed, informed by a participatory action research epistemology. These philosophical foundations influenced a qualitative multi-method methodology consisting of painting workshops, semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and public feedback. Through the process of painting a collaborative mural, participants used symbolism to deconstruct language barriers, elicit new ideas, and co-construct a more inclusive narrative whereby differences were negotiated rather than excluded, oppressed, or assimilated. In this manner, social unity was achieved in such a way that it did not over-ride diversity


Creator | Kaihanga
Amber Kale
Year of Creation | Tau
Creative Commons Licence
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives CC BY-NC-ND
Main Language | Reo Matua
Submitter's Rights | Nga Tika o te Kaituku
I represent the publisher or owner organisation of this resource
This Research has
been peer reviewed by academics at a university
Bibliographic Citation | Whakapuakanga

Kale, A. (2018). A symbolic representation of Wellington: how participatory painting processes enabled a more inclusive urban narrative. Visual Studies, 33(4), 343-356.

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