24 Mar 2022

If walls could speak…

24 Mar 2022

Painting the streets with poetry

Coming soon to a wall near you: 14 fresh new voices from Tāmaki Makaurau.

Spoken Walls is what happens when the voices of our rangatahi are given a platform to speak. In this case, the platform is a series of Phantom frames. In a unique collaboration with Auckland Arts Festival, we’re bringing you words of passionate, talented young writers.

Look out for their concrete korero in the Phantom frames opposite the Auckland central library in Lorne Street and other frames across the city from 10 March 2022.

We asked the Festival’s Artistic Director Shona McCullagh to tell us what Spoken Walls is all about:

Shona, what inspired you to set up this collaboration?

“I saw one of Phantom founder Jim Wilson’s poem poster social media posts and I liked the way it brought the power of the word to new audiences. When you stumble on a poem in a public place, it’s a kind of silent activism. I wondered if we could do something similar, but with young, unknown writers in our city.

“So I got in touch with Phantom and took it from there.”

How did you find the writers whose words are featured?

“We worked with Action Education, which is an arts-based youth development organisation that uses spoken word poetry to engage young people. They got in touch with schools and ran workshops around the region. We wanted diverse voices, and we found 14 young poets from different high schools and communities.”

What topics are they tackling?

“Their words are their own but the common concept that unites them is the Festival theme of Truth. We wanted to hear their truth, bearing in mind the huge pressure young people are under these days. They’re dealing with multiple revolutions, and their voices aren’t always being heard. By putting their words, their truth, in Phantom frames, we can help young people connect, reflect and express their stories.”

Why street posters?

“Phantom shares our passion for the arts to be seen and heard. They share our belief that there’s something uniquely powerful about art in public spaces, where people from all walks of life can stumble upon it.”

Look out for Spoken Walls: A City In Verse during the Auckland Arts Festival. Poems will be popping up around town from 10 March 2022. Check out the poems here

Do you have a message for the street or a campaign you’d like to share? Call 0800 PHANTOM (0800 742686) or have a word with our arts specialist, Anton, on anton@0800phantom.co.nz

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