"For 18-months Olivia Webb worked closely with five New Zealand families to write songs that reflect their feelings about place and belonging in Aotearoa. Each of the families, including the artist’s own, composed an anthem that embraces their values, concerns, and aspirations. These songs have different vocal qualities, musical structures, and lyrics, often including ideas that do not feature in New Zealand’s current national anthem God Defend New Zealand, a musical setting of a poem written by Irish-born Thomas Bracken in the 1870s. These New Zealand families have cultural and ancestral ties to Kiribati, Zambia, Samoa, the Philippines, England and the Netherlands. Their anthems are sung from their lounge rooms, emphasising both the personal and political qualities of using one’s voice. Brought together in this exhibition, these songs form a collective expression of our community today, acknowledging the rich diversity and constantly changing nature of Aotearoa."
Made in collaboration with the Chembo family, the Faulalo/Bull family, the Samson-Godinez family, the Tiibin family, and the Vissers Webb family. Recording technician Noel Meek.
Installation view of Anthems of Belonging (2018–ongoing) Olivia Webb, at The Dowse Art Museum (2019). Photo: Shaun Matthews
A chant is sung from the beach into the depths of the water on a dying coral reef, and back again.
A series of performances and sound based exercises that involve an exchange of breath and voice.
Where Two Oceans Meet: Listening and Foreignness in Olivia Webb’s Anthems of Belonging
Connie Brown experiences Olivia Webb's exhibition Anthems of Belonging at The Dowse Art Museum.