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‘Ataraxia’ exhibition empowers Hamilton youth through photography

After completing Zeal’s photography course, rangatahi celebrated their newfound skills with an exhibition at Creative Waikato this October.

Over 10 weeks, Zeal Hamilton’s photography tutor Ash Muir led a group of Hamilton youth through basic skills, editing, and composition, all leading up to a public display of their work. 40 friends, family and members of the public came through to see the world through their lens.

The title of the exhibition, ‘Ataraxia‘, was chosen by the young people to represent the freedom from distress and worry that Zeal and photography provides for them.

“Zeal is such an amazing place to work and hang,” says Ash. “To teach these young people what I love doing is so rewarding. We’re all so lucky to be part of such an amazing place.”

Alongside the exhibition, students from the barista course served coffee to customers for the first time. As well as photography and barista programmes, Zeal Hamilton also runs affordable courses in audio engineering and event management.

“With each intake I’m reminded of the incredible importance that our programmes have for young people’s sense of identity and worth in Hamilton,” says Mandy, Hamilton’s Programmes Coordinator. “During this intake, our photography tutor, Ash, supported and encouraged our young people to dive deep into styles that they wouldn’t normally express themselves through – ones that helped them develop a way of better understanding themselves and the world around them.”

“If young people leave the programme feeling more confident, and understanding themselves more – well, I think that’s the point.”

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“Zeal Hamilton is committed to meaningful collaboration with youth organisations throughout the city, joining together to ensure every young Hamiltonian has the opportunity to discover more about themselves and their creative passions,” Lehi says, Zeal Hamilton’s Manager.

“Be honest with young people about your struggle and your mess. They’re constantly learning how they understand the world and themselves, and along this journey they need honesty more than anything.