Anthems of Belonging
Olivia Webb. Anthems of Belonging. 2018-ongoing. 5-channel 4K/HD video, each with stereo sound. Life-sized projected video. Full duration 24:00 minute loop. Made in collaboration with the Chembo family, the Faulalo/Bull family, the Samson-Godinez family, the Tiibin family, and the Vissers Webb family. Recording technician Noel Meek.
For 18-months I worked closely with five New Zealand families to write songs that reflect their feelings about place and belonging in Aotearoa. Each of the families, including my own, composed an anthem that embraces their values, concerns, and aspirations. These songs have different vocal qualities, musical structures, and lyrics, often including ideas that do not feature in New Zealand’s current national anthem “God Defend New Zealand”, a musical setting of a poem written by Irish-born Thomas Bracken in the 1870s.
These New Zealand families have cultural and ancestral ties to Kiribati, Zambia, Samoa, the Philippines, England and the Netherlands. Their anthems are sung from their lounge rooms, emphasising both the personal and political qualities of using one’s voice. Brought together in this exhibition, these songs form a collective expression of our community today, acknowledging the rich diversity and constantly changing nature of Aotearoa.