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Migrant families write songs of home and hope
11:38 pm GMT+12, 05/12/2019, New Zealand

By Kate Green

Five migrant families have created and performed their own national anthems that reflect their feelings about place and belonging.

 In "Anthems of Belonging", artist and musician Olivia Webb worked with five migrant families, three of whom are based in Wellington, to write, perform, and film their songs.

 They came from Kiribati, Zambia, Samoa, the Philippines, and the Netherlands.

 Videos of each family performing their anthem are projected life-sized onto gallery walls at The Dowse in Lower Hutt.

 "National anthems are usually songs that unite people,”. Webb said.  "They sing of a nation's values, history and identity."

 Webb wanted to show the contemporary lives of New Zealanders through songs about the multiple histories, identities, cultures, beliefs, and traditions in Aotearoa.

 "Maybe through listening to such songs we might come to understand ourselves and others in new ways."

 Webb, who has previously done projects based around community and singing, is a singer herself, and knew the five families personally.

 The family from Kiribati now live in Porirua, but wrote their anthem about the effects of climate change on their Pacific Island home, Tarawa.

 "It's actually real, it's happening right now, and most of our family are affected," father Bwauro Tiibin said.

 "We are happy we're here, on the big island, but we worry about the small ones."

 Daughter Erebuka Bwauro said the song was a call for help.

 "We hope the people who listen to it, if they can help in any way … If we can get any help, anyhow, somehow."

 Webb's own family was a part of the exhibition, and she said it was important for her to be on the other side of the camera to understand the experience.

 It was often hard to get her busy family all in one place, and this experience allowed them to share stories that would have otherwise gone unsaid.

 Her mother brought out her wedding vows that still underpinned the way she and her husband had raised the kids.

"I was unprepared for how emotional it would be," Webb said.

SOURCE: STUFF NZ


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