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Finding Peace

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Raising Sakinah: Finding Peace

In the aftermath of the 15th March 2019 mosque shootings in Ōtautahi Christchurch, survivors and supporters joined with Colombian-born New Zealander and photographer, Janneth Gil in a series of creative collaborations centred on healing and finding peace.

In March 2023, their exhibition Raising Sakinah: Finding Peace honours the Shuhada, ‘those taken from us.’ The project is Gil’s most recent endeavor in her Darkness into Light projects, established following March 2019. Gil outlines the current project as realised ‘with guidance from Noraini, a survivor from the attacks, and artist/designer Sudi Dagipour and social worker Rebecca Parnham.  We created workshops to provide creative tools for healing, focusing on printmaking and photography and discussions about support systems.’ 

‘Most people don’t take into consideration the spiritual, cultural and individual needs of these circumstances and art is a way of healing.  But rather than an “art recipe”, it is about what can I do and what do you need?  Now in my forth year, there are many projects under the umbrella of Darkness into Light, working with the survivors and their support with me. It has grown organically.’

‘We started the workshops in 2021 and making the prints in 2022.  For this project we had support from the Philip Carter Trust and they have allowed us to do the work that we needed to do with the community.’

‘I am impressed and grateful to our group.  I can’t believe the work they have done while constantly, saying “I am not an artist - Janneth made me an artist.” They were free to work as they wished carving the print, and the ink, made from the flowers donated by the community after the attacks, was the “aroha” taking on a new life, to make the images.  They were making works and helping each other.  Doing the workshops I got very ill and they were the ones who supported me, giving me food in a mutual relationship.’

‘There were a lot of smiles during the workshops.  Seeing their prints everybody said that the best part was when they took the paper off the inked-printed surface, sharing stories of what the print meant for them.  It was an incredible moment.’

 ‘The participants directly affected by the attacks, some of them losing both their children and husbands wanted to use their voices to honour the Shuhada and ensure that their stories become part of our collective memories so things like this don’t happen again.’


DETAILS: Raising Sakinah: Finding Peace, Tūranga Library, 60 Cathedral Square, 25 March – 21 May

IMAGE:  “Throughout the whole process, we were constantly sharing our thoughts, ideas and sharing our own individual experiences. I feel like these workshops were really important for strengthening our bonds and being there for each other. It was really cool to see how everyone had their own personal growth and it was a lovely experience to go through it together. It is such a beautiful way of healing”
–Cahaya Milne

Image credit. Janneth Gil, Darkness into Light Project.  Photograph: Arabella Spoors 



Finding Peace

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