As an organisation rooted in advocating for the health and wellbeing of diverse communities, ongoing community arts practices are a powerful tool to shift public attitudes and mobilising our communities' human rights endeavours. Whether raising awareness to prevent HIV and STI transmission, increasing HIV and STI testing, reducing HIV stigma, or being in closer proximity to our communities, Burnett Foundation Aotearoa is proud to partner with our community artists to weave together stories that make up the tapestry of our organisation and the communities we serve.

Every year, Burnett Foundation Aotearoa will collaborate with a community artist to create a work that charts the journey, stories, issues and themes central to the lived reality of the artist and their communities in relation to Burnett Foundation Aotearoa.

Over time, this initiative will build up a significant body of work - a rich, visual tapestry of the lives & experiences of our communities, and the story of Burnett Foundation Aotearoa. 

Grounded in our history 

For over forty years, art and craft has told our communities' stories through The New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt Project as a way of facilitating connection and reflection. It is an integral part of our communities’ collective history and also for us as an organisation.

Having commemorated 30 years of the project in 2018, the Quilt Project has toured Aotearoa since 1992, educating people about the realities of living with HIV and AIDS, fighting stigma and humanising the experiences of HIV and AIDS.

The New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt Project is a kaupapa grounded in artistic practice and is a “for community, by community” practice at its core. It remains a key tool in commemorating those who we have lost, engaging in whakamaumahara – to honour and to learn and continuously grow.

Building on this existing kaupapa, we would build artistic relationships not only to build on “for community, by community” artistic practise, but to serve as a tool to build, nurture and enhance relationships with communities and create space for them to actively contribute to the tapestry of our collective history.

Inaugural Artist Partnership - Shannon Novak, 2022

Te Haeata | Anew
Shannon Novak, 2023

Guided by the whakataukī “Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua” – ‘I walk backwards into the future with my eyes fixed on my past’, this work commemorates the beginning of Burnett Foundation Aotearoa.

Te Haeata, the Māori word for the dawn, speaks of the first light of morning and represents a new day rising. This acknowledges the beginning of Burnett Foundation Aotearoa by choosing Te Haeata as the installation's name to welcome the dawn of something anew. Nau mai Te Haeata!

Te Haeata | Anew is rooted in acknowledging our past as Te Tūāpapa Mate Āraikore o Aotearoa New Zealand AIDS Foundation, making a bold statement that embodies Bruce Burnett and the first clinic that opened in 1986, parallel to the Homosexual Law Reform Act. This manifests in the eight and six circle formations on the exterior of the building and on the sunlight in the stairwell.

Line work weaves into the existing fabric of the building, with the red line referencing the red AIDS ribbon, ushering those entering the building from the outside to the entrance of the clinic on the top floor; and the cyan line paying homage to the original eight-colour rainbow flag (1978), symbolising magic and art.

Circles represent people - individuals, communities, groups, organisations, countries, and the lines support, and provide safety and guidance for people.

Triangle motifs pay homage to early AIDS-awareness iconography and the colours used in the circles in the stairwell are inspired by the colours in the ‘For Those Loved and Known’ quilt, created by the team of the Burnett Clinic (New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s support and counselling clinic) and the Community AIDS Resource Team as part Block 4 of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt Project. These colours represent spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.

The motifs are echoed in the reception area, where a metallic gold frame of Bruce Burnett is housed in remembrance, supported by bronze and gold accenting, inspired by Bruce’s star on Block 12 – “Who Do I know? Commemorating World AIDS Day 1994” of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt Project.

Shannon’s expertise in interactive and celebratory art forms, ushers the history of Te Tūāpapa Mate Āraikore o Aotearoa New Zealand AIDS Foundation and the communities we serve into a new era of Burnett Foundation Aotearoa.

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