In the visual typography of Western media and entertainment the bodies of people of African descent have been and continue to be painted as a symbol of perversion, poverty, crime and shame. Studies reveal that others confront individuals from migrant and refugee backgrounds with ascriptions. These ascriptions are at times a result of one-dimensional media representation of the ‘other’ that result in interactions based on experiencing imagery that is heavily laden with stereotypes. As the prevalent of people of African descent living in New Zealand increases due to migration and birth, it becomes imperative to create stories that relate to the reality of those individuals. 

We are proud to present the ‘I AM’ project that focuses the lens on what it means to be African in New Zealand without the assistance of stereotypes. It will be a chance for us to be who we are without the identity that has been thrust into their individuality due to stereotypes perpetuated by the media. The project will be executed in two components (1) online campaign and (2) gallery exhibition at Studio One as part of Africa Day 2016, Auckland Festival of Photography and Fringe Festival.

How to get amongst

As the project was created for us, we want everyone to get involved. Below is how you can get amongst the action:

1. Email with your address or message us on Facebook  with your address

2. We will send you the official 'I AM' postcard the old school way (please check your letterboxes)

3. You will take a photo like the one below (up to you where you take it and how you pose, after all it is about your identity!) and share it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #iamnz #aomsart #africaonmysleeve and whatever else you want to hashtag (we strongly welcome #melaninonfleek)

4. The photos will be complied into the dopest online reel and you will go in the draw to win tickets to some awesome shows, a couple of bottles of wine and much more. 

We really need everyone to participate as there is power in us coming together. We look forward to your entries. More details about the exhibition will be coming shortly, we have been out and about shooting and below are some behind the scenes shots.

The 'I AM' project is in collaboration with the beautiful Julz Glover.