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"Introducing our artists" with a green background and mountain elements. The Auckland Pride and Deepen* logos are included.

Image description

"Introducing our artists" with a green background and mountain elements. The Auckland Pride and Deepen* logos are included.

Introducing our Deepen* artists

Our six artists are working on a collection of activations, recorded kōrero, spoken poetry and photo essays which explore how queerness and disability intersect.

  • Introducing our Deepen* artists
    The D*List
  • We are excited to introduce the six artists who have been working to make the Deepen* kaupapa a reality. Last week we introduced Deepen*, a curatorial programme highlighting queer, disabled artists and their artistry. It celebrates that we have always been here, in our communities and in relationships.

    Our artists have been working on a collection of activations, recorded kōrero, spoken poetry and photo essays which explore how queerness and disability intersect, acknowledging that queer spaces are not always accessible.

Misty gazes longingly at the viewer with a huia feather heru comb. Body draped in sheer, red fabric which represents Te Whei Ao, the realm of Coming into Being. With arms simultaneously raised and resting on the body, index fingers stretched towards each other.

  • Deepen Misty Frequency
  • Misty Frequency (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngā Rauru, Kai Tahu, Scotland) is a Takatāpui, neurodivergent, genderless visual, performance and drag artist and activist. The kaupapa they bring you is political, conceptual and avant-garde, ultimately with the aim to advocate, celebrate, demonstrate, captivate and stimulate.

  • Deepen* to me is all about Herenga (connection, bond, commitment). To strengthen preexisting connections as well as making new ones. Deepen* the roots which connects all tāngata whaikaha (disabled people), enriched by sharing quality time, space kai and kōrero.

  • A space which has intentional thought and planning go into it to be safe and comfortable for takiwātanga. Deepen* is for us by us.

    Misty Frequency

Image description: Noēll, a powerful wahine with long brown hair and a muri paraoa pounamu necklace, staring into the camera.

  • Deepen Noelle Ratapu
  • My name is Noēll Ratapu. I am a 25-year-old Queer, Māori, Disabled woman artist living in Southern California to receive life-saving treatment for my degenerative disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I lost the ability to walk at age 11 and have been in a wheelchair ever since. My art depicts a variety of different styles, but mainly abstract and self-portraits. Art in any medium has given me the ability to transcend into a different reality. Creating art has become a huge sense of freedom that has carried me through this life and has kept me afloat even when I felt as if I was sinking. For the past four years, I started my digital art journey since my hands are now too weak for painting and drawing. It allowed me to explore more of my creativity without feeling burnt out from exhaustion and has lit a stronger and brighter fire of passion underneath me.

  • Deepen* for me means to be seen, to be heard, to be supported, to be given a sense of belongingness. Deepen* for me means that there will always be a place at the table for me.

    Noēll Ratapu

Image description: A black and white image of Ruby Solly taking a selfie, she wears a flower in their hair and has moko kauae.

  • Deepen Ruby Solly
  • Ruby Solly (Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) is a taonga pūoro practitioner, writer, musician, and music therapist, living in Poneke which is also the title of her first album. She has published two books with Te Herenga Waka University Press; Tōku Pāpā (2020) and The Artist (2024). She has been published in various Aotearoa based journals as well as in America, Australia, and Antarctica. She has recently completed a doctoral thesis within public health at Massey University, on the use of taonga pūoro for hauora. She tries hard to be a compassionate friend of her bipolar disorder.

  • Deepen* is an invitation to shed layers of surface level communications; to reveal and engage in conversations about who we are as people, what we're facing, and what we can do when we imagine our collective success and freedom without a "survival of the fittest" mentality that disregards the value of the disabled experience.

  • Deepen* gives us an opportunity to show our complexities that work under the soil, it gives us an opportunity to "show our working" as people living with disabilities and to demystify and acknowledge the journeys we take to create.

    Ruby Solly

Image description: Henrietta stares solemnly into the camera. Their teal hair, blush lipstick and yellow paints create a colourful landscape.

  • Deepen Henrietta Bollinger
  • Henrietta Bollinger (they/them) is a writer and disabled community advocate and writer in many forms. They  have been performing poetry since 2009 and  their most recent work has been essays. Their first book Articulations was published by Tender Press in 2023. It is about their experiences as a disabled-queer person and a twin.

  • It is not often that disabled people get to be represented in our complexity, the in between in our identities the hyphen queer-disabled. For me Deepen* is about acknowledging that experience and the intimacy of doing that.

    Henrietta Bollinger

Image description: Ari sits confidently in a high backed red leather armchair holding a cane. His full black suit compliments his blue hair.

  • Deepen Ari Kerssens
  • A recent transplant to Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Ari Kerssens, 29, seeks to create unity and spread disabled joy through his advocacy work and creative practice. Ari became blind in 2013, and after confronting his own internalised ableism in the years that followed has gone through a radical shift in his perceptions and beliefs; and landed in a place of blind pride. You can usually find Ari socialising, exploring, practising yoga, collecting weird sounds, or creating - primarily in the medium of sound. Ari’s latest work 4 Feet in the Dark, in collaboration with Tash van Schaardenburg, opens in Tāmaki Makaurau on January 31st.

  • I crave depth in my experience of this world. Depth being the opposite of superficiality. I see Deepen* as an opportunity to connect, to skip the pretentious, performative bullshit, and to simply revel. To luxuriate in our shared identity as queer, disabled, and/or human, without the need to perform.

    Ari Kerssens

Image description: Dr Huhana stares off into the distance. She wears slim framed red glasses and has moko kauae.

  • Deepen Dr Huhana Hickey
  • Dr Huhana Hickey (MNZM) from Ngāti Tāhinga, Whakatōhea is an academic and disability rights lawyer. She has multiple sclerosis, was the first openly disabled Housing NZ board member and is an unflinching advocate for whānau hauā and all disabled people. Dr Hickey is a member of the New Zealand Human Rights Review Tribunal and became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015 for services to people with disabilities.

  • Deepen* for me is simply acceptance of our differences and finding ways of expressing that, it is about our authenticity of who we are and expressing that safely and securely.

    Dr Huhana Hickey