Te Uku Primary School End of Year Please Do Touch Expo!!!

What a joy it was to participate in the end of year expo with the whole school involved in sharing their learning about the UN Sustainable Development Goals inspired from our collaboration!!!

We are in the process of compiling our end of project report. The Principal's first comment was "the students have learnt so much through this fabulous collaboration!"

Our report will be shared here end October.

Raising awareness about Climate Change

My 2010 artists statement for the opening of "Visualising Climate Change" or "Climate Chains" exhibition, ArtsPost gallery, Waikato Museum, Hamilton New Zealand.
Scientists write papers and show graphs about climate change but the truth is that most people in the world are not brave enough to face it, or they think the problems are too big for them to deal with and it is easier to just forget about it and enjoy life with no worries.  Most people think that they cannot change the situation so they leave it to other people like their governments and Prime Ministers to fix it. There are many actions that people can take: use less electricity, less petrol and save non-renewable resources that are finishing.  I hear about the news of temperatures getting warmer or colder all over, that the ice in the North and South poles is melting. This is making it worse for people to live on Earth, houses are lonely in the wind, oceans will rise and take people’s houses away, some plants will not survive the changes in their environment. I think about these things and read about them in books.  I paint pictures of what it will look like if we don’t stop climate change. I paint about what life will be like when climate change gets worse…  That’s just what I do. That’s my message to the world…
"The people who enjoy my art tell me they connect emotionally to my work. I seek to surprise, and having surprised ask my audience to visualise social and environmental change. Art is a channel of communication that uses pre-conscious mechanisms and through which we can raise awareness in the wider public about issues that matter to us. After all scientists and politicians have tried for decades to raise public awareness about climate change but they use numbers and graphs to make their point. It has not worked obviously – but a large size painting on a gallery wall that shows houses in tormented weather patterns – this moves audiences. I am becoming known for my environmental activism"

Royal Society of NZ journalist Brian Johnson visited the exhibition and wrote this "Paint it Bleak" article. The exhibition's subtitle is: Visualising Climate Change - How Long Till The Water Rises?  

Te Papa Instructional Designer D. James wrote the following:
Yaniv Daniel Janson – Taking Action Project

A young artist with aspergers inspires international art community with vivid paintings of climate change and creates education resource to enable all children, including those with disabilities, to meaningfully contribute to conversations about global issues.


An artist dream - to inspire disabled people to follow their passion.
Collaborating with Art Teachers around the world through the UNESCO: http://y-learning.blogspot.com/p/unesco.html

"Yaniv Janson has been recognised as a role model through the 12 art and education awards he has received. His pathway was not always clear as he battled with disabilities which he combats daily by developing a visual language through his art. The youngest artist to be invited in the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Yaniv was recently a finalist for the 2014 Artistic Achievement Attitude Awards. His art website www.yanivjanson.com has more information about him as well as his resume.

When his second book Changing the World - One Painting at a Time was recognised as a valuable teacher resource by the UNESCO Asia Pacific Art-educators Hub (APAH), Yaniv donated its pdf file to the APAH, for support staff to download it for free. His motivation was to reach far and wide with staff facing a universal problem - engaging disabled youth meaningfully, whilst having to manage a whole group. Yaniv knows the transformative power of the arts, as his talent was uncovered by his teacher when he was 16 and feeling alienated from the rest of his peers. Pursuing his passion helped Yaniv transcend his disability to participate and contribute.

Now that this resource has been adopted by teachers internationally, Yaniv can focus his energy back home to work with our disabled people, as is the purpose of this project.

Increasing opportunities for disabled people to contribute via employment

Since his project has been nominated by the UNESCO, Yaniv has but one dream: follow on and engage with New Zealand Art Educators and Community builders. Pilot presentations to families, support staff and educators of children with disabilities have been very well received. They have engaged their audiences into a constructive and inspirational dialogue on what can be done immediately, with the resources at hand to engage disabled people and tap into their deep desire to participate and contribute. These presentations inspire people to take action and create change in their organisations and families.

One resource - multiple outcomes! 

The front section of the book is inspirational to a wide range of audiences; our experience has shown that youth with disabilities connect with the colourful art and with guidance, look forward to engaging in creative activity of this kind.

The back section of the book is a manual for people who support disabled people. It links action to pedagogical theory and explains how to engage marginalised people - such as disabled people with views of developing their careers. The Manual details how some activities build the Key Competencies that have been outlined by experts in education and social development as playing a core role in helping disabled people contribute to their communities". 
Yaniv Janson says:

“I travel to schools and day centres for disabled people to inspire educators and staff to raise their expectations about the contribution that can be made by the people they support. I know from first hand experience that support staff often have low expectations about disabled people’s future social contribution, and where interventions have been made, these expectations can increase, opening hosts of new opportunities for disabled people. In many cases, families and carers just need to meet people who they can see have achieved their dreams so they can be inspired by their energy and the happiness that comes from being engaged in what one is passionate about!"

I have met many parents who did not dare dreaming anymore for a great future for their child.

I am not advocating that every disabled person should become an artist… just that in following my passion and gifts I achieved success and happiness – and recognition for the contribution that I am making to my community!

It is about identifying what one is passionate about and putting all our energy in becoming great at it! This can and has changed lives!!” 

Charlotte Giblin the Wallace Morrinsville Gallery curator said:

“It has been a privilege and a pleasure to have this exhibition in our new gallery, and Yaniv’s bold, bright canvasses have attracted a lot of attention. The subject matter has been of particular interest to visiting school groups, who have been fascinated to see such confident, expressive work echoing their own fears of a changing world. On my part, I find the later work in Yaniv’s display particularly moving: the loose swirls and spontaneous strokes within Tornados and Turbulence ignite a passionate response and give emphasis to the ever-present plaintive question: what can we do to stop this from happening?  The Gallery walls here have worn Yaniv’s paintings with pride, but it would be selfish to keep them for too long: this exhibition is too important to be kept hidden, or restricted to one Town, one Region, one Country.”

Shortcut to this post: https://tinyurl.com/ClimateChangeJanson

2019 Artistic Achievement Award!!!

Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards celebrate the contribution of individuals, groups and organisations in providing access to the arts. This year's awards ceremony was held during a banquet at Parliament on Wednesday 11 September.

The judging panel for this award was Stephen Wainwright (Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand), Chris Ford (Arts For All Otago Network member, Disability Advisor, Dunedin City Council and Disabled Persons Assembly Dunedin secretary), Judith Jones (Audio describer and Host, Te Papa, Arts For All Wellington Network member) and Richard Benge (Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa).

Of this nomination, the panel said: “Yaniv Janson has achieved critical acclaim, both here and internationally – in particular, representing New Zealand at the UN Headquarters in New York with his exhibition Please Do Touch. Through his art and activism, this talented young artist is building bridges across communities, and engaging people in social and environmental issues. Yaniv’s commitment, achievements, vision and innovation are outstanding.”  

The organising committee chose one of Yaniv's painting for the cover of the night's programme.

Click here for the video clip of the ceremony:  [timecode 40]

Wellington visit

Had a great time visiting Wellington recently: A visit to Te Papa Te Taiao exhibition which develops topics from the Sustainable Development goals - they have some absolutely awesome stations about creating change. It was really nice catching up with Donald James, Learning Innovation Specialist Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, who pitched the idea of involving a team of researchers to quantify the impact at Te Uku school. Finally, had some great conversation with Clare, Iona at the Arts Access Aotearoa office about developing networks to create new collaborations!

Sustainability Journals Te Uku project - February meetings

July school visit movie:

Te Uku starting assembly:

It was awesome to present to eager students and teachers at Te Uku. After a brief introduction, we showed showed the video clip I recorded for the Te Papa new exhibition:

The Te Papa meeting with Donald James, Learning Innovation Specialist was inspirational. Donald showed me some of the cool things that school students can do with virtual tools and that we can include in our collaboration.

The Sustainability Journal Project is taking shape.... We'll start at Te Uku school in Term 2. More to come...

My dream is coming true!

Art-ivism: A brief recap of my interest in the Sustainable Development Goals

In the past decade my work aligns with the recently pronounced Goals for Humanity by the United Nations. On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda

Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector and civil society. When it comes to humanity's voice, Art and Activism go hand in hand - it's called Art-ivism - and it concerns you and me. Maya Zilberberg created the animation below for my project...

Sustainable Development Goals School Journal update!

Really keen to continue working on our new educational resources where art and social/environmental sciences converge to create identification and action. We have started working with Te Puke school, a little country school near Raglan. Guess what: Pip Mears, Principal used to be my teacher in middle school!!!!! 

Below are a few draft pages and the cover of the Sustainable Development Goals School Journals that each child will receive to work in with their class and teachers:

Journal draft cover
Journal draft Table of Contents
Journal draft introduction
Everything is still open for new ideas and co-design!

Silence is golden project

Spotted on: https://publicdelivery.org/balloons/new-zealand/raglan/impressive

Check you the rest of the Public Delivery site to see the other exhibits!!

United Nations Solo exhibition opening!

Wow! What a day!!!

The opening was absolutely awesome!!!!

More media on photo album here. Arts Access Aotearoa story here.

Media from Al Etmanski's blog:

Media from Parent to Parent magazine:

More stories coming soon!

United Nations June 11-14 Installation!

Monday 11 June at 5:45pm: Opening date for my solo exhibition at the New York City Headquarter of the United Nations!!

Guests to assemble at 5:45pm at the 46th Street/1st Avenue UN Entrance to meet a member of the NZ Mission.

Please send us your name and email before June 4 so we can send our guest list to the NZ Mission - we need to be escorted to the exhibition for security reasons!

The exhibition will take place at the Curved Wall, 1st floor of UNHQ Conference Building (backing on to Conference Room 2)

Participation in the #ArtSansExclusion 2018 Europe roadshow

After my 2017 Paris exhibition, my art was selected for the 2018 Exhibition road show "Arts sans exclusion". See Twitter feed: #ArtSansExclusion

This exhibition opened 15 March 2018 in Paris and will travel across Europe until 2019 - catalog below:

Interinvest, 28 March:

Sante Mentale, 18 March:

What are sustainable communities?

Excerpt from the Montenegro conference that Yaniv presented at the EASPD Conference in Montenegro:

From social justice to leadership
Yaniv and Annick Janson

Social justice refers to principles of stewardship, participation, the common good and solidarity as applied to rectifying injustice that the poor and the vulnerable suffer. What if we went one step further: identifying and enabling the development of leadership amongst people with disability?

Five years ago Yaniv Janson launched the Taking Action! UNESCO project, bringing to the fore the leadership messages of people with disability in the areas of social and environmental sustainability. In 2017 Janson developed the Please Do Touch series of installations to make a connection between art, social and environmental issues and disability. The installations focus on high priority themes that address the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Art can facilitate the complex understanding between humankind and its environment through alternative languages involving all our senses. Please Do Touch installations make use of visual, body, oral and kinetic languages to speak to the variety of human experiences - to collaborate and work on humanity’s Sustainable Development Agenda. This project is the vehicle that strengthens his voice and establishes him as a thought leader and ART-itivist, as raising awareness about climate change and how we can address these big issues for instance with the intentional environmental or urban planning that can make a difference.

In Janson’s eyes, he has a unique viewpoint to offer – this could stem from being on the autistic spectrum:

“I know that I have a different point of view. I think about the fact that I paint things in different ways than other artists – for instance I especially want others to touch and take photos of my art.”

Janson uses technology to enable project management: The Taking Action! blog [http://tinyurl.com/taking-action-unesco] serves the double function of: 1. Documenting outcomes in real time for project funders as well as 2. Assist him remember key dates, people and meetings.

Janson is supported by Creative New Zealand funding [http://www.creativenz.govt.nz/news/over-520-000-in-grants-awarded-in-latest-creative-new-zealand-funding-round]: he is partially funded through mainstream channels, which support all New Zealand artists. He also uses his Individualised Funding [from the disability sector] to achieve his life goals and build his career. He plans to build his career up until he no longer needs the financial assistance of the disability sector.

October Paris Exhibition Opening

At Memoire de l'Avenir, in collaboration with UNESCO MOST:

On https://www.ocirp.fr/prix-ocirp-handicap/actualites-du-prix/regards-dartistes-sur-notre-societe-22 one can access the media about me that was publicised after my Paris exhibitions (screenshot below):

Media from the exhibition:

Plastic free campaign in Raglan!

Visited Corrina at Orca Restaurant and Bar and Aaron at the Raglan Social Club who display the Please Do Touch artwork on cups donated by Raglan Coconut Yogurt!

Thank you everyone for your support! We can live without plastic bags!

Above: June-July activities

Exciting meeting with Carl Jackson from the YouthNet trust about possibilities to inspire young people in the Waikato. Carl works with vulnerable youth and has boundless energy for community development... More to come!!

Please Do Touch Media Pack

Please Do Touch concept 
The Please Do Touch series of installations make a connection between art, social and environmental topics and disability. The installations are part of the Taking Action! UNESCO project that Yaniv Janson launched 5 years ago.

The installations focus on high priority themes which address the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Yaniv is working on creating new art for this exhibition and plans to travel in New Zealand to consult with the disability community and so be able to integrate their ideas into his work. This would make this project the first collective one of its kind. 

Art can facilitate the complex understanding between humankind and its environment through alternative languages involving all our senses. Please Do Touch installations make use of visual, body, oral and kinetic languages to speak to the variety of human experiences - to collaborate and work on humanity’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Proud to report support from Creative New Zealand and from the EASPD for a solo exhibition of Please Do Touch at the EASPD Montenegro Conference [Community-based support and Sustainable Development] and Paris HQ UNESCO in October 2017.

Reference: Creative New Zealand [http://www.creativenz.govt.nz/news/over-520-000-in-grants-awarded-in-latest-creative-new-zealand-funding-round]

This Taking Action! blog [tinyurl.com/taking-action-unesco] reports on the project.
Yaniv paints about the Sustainable Development Goals, for instance:

Goal 13 - Climate Action
Yaniv launched the Changing the World - One Painting at a Time campaign in 2010 painting about the ice cap melting and the sea level rising, as reported in the “Hot Topic” blog of the Royal Society of NZ. He has been active in this field ever since, with the help of the UNESCO APAH (Asia Pacific Art Hub) to disseminate these ideas globally. The photo below shows side by side the "Goldilocks zone" where the sun pours over vegetation helping it grow and flourish (right) and the Climate Change turbulence that will result (left) should we continue on an unsustainable development path.

Goal 14 - Life Below Water

Conservation has a vital role to play in supporting our fragile ecosystems. The photo below shows these works - we could either have biodiversity or inert water.

Project lead background
Yaniv Janson who leads this initiative is a young artist and political commentator. Through his art, he works to raise awareness about environmental and social issues and to move audiences to create impact. He has exhibited his work extensively in New Zealand and abroad. Yaniv’s passion is to give a voice to more disabled people whilst contributing back to society:
“Working towards crucial environmental goals allows Yaniv to give back to his community by proving that disability is not a barrier to achieving and sharing a social message with others”
Margalit Berrier, Presidente, Memoire de l'Avenir, Paris, France
Janson’s animation on the website of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission [hrc.co.nz/yaniv-janson/impact] and his books featuring art, social change and education illustrate the concepts inspiring his work with international organisations.

Yaniv's second book and educational resource ‘Changing the World – One Painting at a Time’ has been adopted by international organisations such as the UNESCO and is showcased on the Asia Pacific Art-educators Hub/UNESCO website (see project background tab on this blog].

In 2012, Yaniv donated it to the UNESCO for distribution to art teachers worldwide. Since then Yaniv has lead a series of interventions aimed at raising expectations from disabled people and match their motivation to contribute to their communities. Working in close partnership with Apple Australasia, Yaniv designed the first accessible Art electronic book - a multimedia-training resource for workers supporting disabled artists. The Please Do Touch installation will include a set of iPads for the audience to interact with the art.

A multimedia resource will accompany the project.

In Nov 2016, the Please Do Touch project was listed on the United Nation's website [screenshot below] at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnership/?p=13138

The project video trailer can be viewed below:

Yaniv Janson is a gifted fine artist residing in Raglan, New Zealand. Having begun his journey as an artist in November 2007, he has showcased his work in over 40 exhibitions, in 4 countries, receiving over 18 awards, scholarships and sponsorships. In addition, he has sold over 150 paintings and his work is collected in New Zealand and overseas. Now in his early 20’s, Yaniv’s mission is to raise awareness about environmental and social issues and inspire audiences to create change – through art.

More photos and details of the project here.

In June, the "Invisible Disability" project was launched at the New Zealand Parliament by Hon. Nicky Wagner, Minister for Disability Issues, with new avenues for the Please Do Touch message, including the Minister's tweets!

6. Media
Yaniv's "art-ivism" was reported in more that 40 media pieces (view here); the latest were Kia Ora Magazine, the magazine of Air New Zealand distributed at 400,000 copies and UNO Magazine [screenshots below] at: http://www.unomagazine.co.nz/the-arts/yaniv-janson-message-colour

 Well... if we all play our roles, we can make a better world!!

Press items that specifically report on the Please Do Touch project:
Raglan Chronicle article at: https://www.raglanchronicle.co.nz/community/2017/07/1683

Waikato Times article [online version]:

Waikato Museum curator Leafa Wilson said Janson has a rare understanding of colour and composition: "[But] his work is not just pretty pictures. He usually has some kind of intent behind his work," Wilson said. "He's using the idea of kinesthetic art where you have to touch it to get the sensation and to get an idea of what he is feeling when he is painting it. He's just really committed to painting part of his language." Wilson said people like Janson, who are on the autism spectrum, are often able to catch details and messages that others don't see. "Their world is different. They see things quite differently.

7. Collaboration with the Memories of the Future UNESCO project 
(http://artsandsociety-iygu.org) The Please Do Touch project will feature as one of the global art projects that Memory of the Future will exhibit at the World Humanities Conference (WHC: http://www.humanities2017.org/en) in Liege in August 2017.

The jury wrote:

"Dear Yaniv, Thank you very much for your work and for your poetic engagements. Your work and words prove well that, beyond all borders and differences, art can unite and offer ways for expressions and contact between all people. Your statement about special people is strong and beautiful! Indeed with art one can resist, transfer ideas, evoke debates... encourage dialogue and respect to towards people. We hope via Arts and Society we will initiate contact between people, artists and projects around the globe, to encourage others to react!"

Please Do Touch ethos
I am on the autistic spectrum and live with epilepsy. I feel that this installation would be a meaningful contribution to community. Please Do Touch facilitates sensory art experiences for all audiences, including people with visual impairments and special sensory needs, such as people on the autistic spectrum like myself. I choose to challenge traditional art ‘rules’ by inviting the audience to touch the art and engaging with audiences that were traditionally excluded from the experience of art. Conversely, this demonstrates that the disability community is keen to participate in mainstream society – by experimenting with different experiences of art for all to try” (Yaniv Janson, Project Lead).

On: http://artsandsociety-iygu.org/artists/yanivjanson

8. Exhibition at the Paris Gallery Memories of the Future
A new opportunity has arisen for the Please Do Touch artworks to be also exhibited as part of the collaboration with UNESCO MOST [http://www.memoire-a-venir.org/leprojet_en.html]

9. A public evening under the Arts and Society project hosted by Dr. Guillaume Dumas, Chief Researcher at the Pasteur Institute [https://research.pasteur.fr/en/member/guillaume-dumas]. Dr. Dumas researches Human Genetics and Cognitive Functioning and their connection to autism and art. See Guillaume's talk here and exhibition-roundtable here.

Mémoire de l'Avenir
Espace interculturel pluridisciplinaire 
45-47 rue Ramponeau
75020 Paris
Tél : 09 51 17 18 75 

M2-11 Belleville, Couronnes ou Pyrénées
The resource that will accompany it, Changing the World - One Painting at a Time, revised for this event is accessible to all and can be downloaded in 2 different formats:
  1. pdf file for all systems
  2. An ePub multimedia file for IOS systems, including movie clips, image galleries, gifs to illustrate some points and an interactive map. Epubs work interactively on systems that can read ePubs - for instance iPads and iPhones - screenshot below

The media from the 30 under 30 Hamilton City Council award.

Link to this post: tinyurl.com/Please-Do-Touch

Working on Sustainable Development Goals and aiming to go international with the Please Do Touch project

Had a great meeting as part of my Please Do Touch project with Hon. Minister Wagner and Danielle Ryan who agreed to test the concept for us. We want our audience experiencing art using different sensory channels

My aim: to lead a project for New Zealand to exhibit in New York, either at the United Nations or... 
I am looking for partners to carry this project with!!!

Visual Arts - multi sensory interaction

It was great to open an exhibition where the audience could interact with the art in many ways - including touching it!

Visiting Arts Access Aotearoa

It was great to meet Richard Benge and Iona McNaughton!  Arts Access Aotearoa does great work to help Artists with disabilities.

Redefining contributions through work rather than narrow jobs or employment concepts

Have a read of the United Nation Development Programme report that re-thinks the word "work":
From a human development perspective, work, rather than jobs or employment is the relevant concept. A job is a narrow concept with a set of pre-determined time-bound assigned tasks or activities, in an input-output framework with labour as input and a commodity or service as output. Yet, jobs do not encompass creative work (e.g. the work of a writer or a painter), which go beyond defined tasks; they do not account for unpaid care work; they do not focus on voluntary work. Work thus is a broader concept, which encompasses jobs, but goes beyond by including the dimensions mentioned above, all of which are left out of the job framework, but are critical for human development.

How appropriate for human development perspectives to re-think basic concepts and recognise the many contributions that are made from people of different abilities!

We follow UNDP Helen Clark's communications via social media that keep a steady information stream on these topics.

The ripple effects from exhibiting art about social and environmental issues

Ngaire talks about my work exhibited in her Auckland Newmarket gallery:

I want to engage people of different ages and abilities on my blog. Click on the "compose puzzle" grey button below to jumble up my plankton painting... can you reassemble it?

Human Rights Commission meeting

The highlight of the week was meeting with Shawn Moodie from the Human Rights Commission. It was great visiting the premises and meeting the team. We are looking at publishing a set of articles and resources that can be used by people with disabilities, advocates, teachers, businesses and other people interested in raising awareness about how people with disabilities can contribute to their communities.

The Human Rights Commission is very supportive to setting an example to demonstrate how people with disabilities can be proactive in changing attitudes about inclusion and integration!

Below is how the Yaniv Janson Project was started on the Human Rights Commission website: www.hrc.co.nz/yaniv-janson

Thank you Erin from the Human Rights Commission in Wellington!!! Erin is helping us with the Yaniv Janson Project page of the Human Rights Commission website!

I have been watching video interviews and speeches with John Crowley, UNESCO, MOST [http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/most-programme/whos-who]
Here is his talk about the Ethical Implications of Technological Changes broadcasted at the WSIS forum I contributed to online: http://www.unesco.org/archives/multimedia/?pg=33&s=films_details&id=2520