We are often on the go and sometimes not really giving much thought to what is going on around you, especially in recent times – the standard rollercoaster of life can take a toll, so a variety of talented local artists have come together to create a special space during the Auckland Fringe Festival. People can get amongst the multi-day intimate multi-art space that is Rest & Restoration at Strange Haven this April – we caught up with a few of the artists involved in the series to hear more about their ‘pocket of chill’.

Starting our conversations with the organiser, Cindy Jang-Barlow, R+R truly is a space where you ‘can come as you are’. There will be artworks, zines, sculptures, workshops around mindfulness, clay and a healing herb seed with some spoken poetry performances in the mix. Cindy shared that her idea for the event was to to create a space of calm as well as a space to showcase a group of talented people and she wants event participants to leave with “a sense of joy”. Cindy explained this by saying, “there’s not enough of it in the world, a place where we all can come and have a drink, a laugh, a place to hang out. Not really here to change the world, we’re just creating spaces where others can show their works and get together.”

Graphic Designer by trade Alyssa Pua tells us her piece “specifically invites viewers to slow down, reflect and ask themselves what their next moves are after this most current lockdown and the year that was 2020… it’s a gentle prompt for all of us to remember that we still have the rest of 2021 to look forward to. This pandemic and our current climate doesn’t get to choose what happens next; we do. So let’s be present and reflect – it’s our move next.” Alyssa also mentioned that people could leave the event space with a “greater sense of mindfulness and content awareness”.

Another creative in the group Casey Yeoh, whose favourite thing to do is draw and animate, said that part of the work being showcased was prioritising “marginalised voices that deserve a platform to showcase their art, as well as creating safe spaces for people to come together and relax with the help of art, music and community.” Casey shared part of her segment would be exhibiting a few short videos, including one filmed on a Super 8 (a very cool film camera!).

Brandon Lin is another member of the talented group, assisting Cindy Jang-Barlow with running the event, as well as sharing experiences as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. They’re presenting two new issues of their autobiographical zine at the event in the hopes that readers will “have a good laugh, an opportunity to give some awareness to queer experiences”.

Keren-Louise Feltham is bringing her dance videography to the mix. The piece is “a reflection of what the ocean means to m”’. Giving a visual insight, Keren tells, “I often go to the ocean or seek out the ocean when I need to relax and recharge my batteries. I find that the ocean helps me focus on the present, it calms all my senses, and it holds a lot of beautiful memories.”

Beka Hope, who took the incredible image featured above, has created a short film with fellow creative in the group, Cindy. The short film is “designed to be a zen watch, but it has some deeper themes that I hope people will pick up on and enjoy”, Beka tells us. She also enjoys getting creative by making ceramics, as having no idea what she’s doing makes it feel “explorative and experimental”.

Overall there is a resounding collective thought that the hope is people can take away some tools and an experience that keeps them thinking that after the chaotic past year, Rest + Restoration should become (and continue to be) a priority.

R+R is on at Strange Haven from April 7th to April 10th.
More information about the event can be found on Facebook.

From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.

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