Wellington exhibition focuses on human rights breaches

By Te Rina Triponel

An exhibition capturing instances of racialised human rights violations in New Zealand through interactive mapping is now at Victoria University’s Adams Art Gallery.

Violent Legalities was conceptualised by Pacific architectural researcher Dr Karamia Müller, and explores more than 500 incidents and events across the country.

“We use the term violence and violation in a broad sense. We take, for example, delivering a pig's head to Al Noor mosque as a version of a violation,” Dr Müller told Tapatahi.

“An event like that is a breach of someone’s human rights.”

Dr Müller collaborated with London-based Forensic Architecture researcher Lachlan Kermode, who helped develop three TimeMap platforms to help visualise colonial legacies across New Zealand.

Violent Legalities draws attention to communities who aren’t protected and are subject to over-policing, the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal findings of claims submitted by iwi and hāpu of the Te Urewera district, and the links between state care and the expanding prison population.

Saving lives

It also looks at the lack of intervention from the government before last year's Christchurch twin terrorist attacks, where the Muslim community spoke up about white supremacist threats but was ignored.

“Our research shows we must 'centre' these experiences to address structural inequities and save lives,” Dr Müller said in a statement.

“We must centre Black lives, we must centre Māori lives, we must centre Muslim lives, we must centre Pasifika lives, we must centre trans lives, we must centre Indigenous lives when we think about the state, what we consider justice, and we must do so urgently.”   

The exhibition is supported by hundreds of sources and brings together an international team of contributors from anthropology, architecture, art and web development.