Our new Green Heart
When we put our heads together a few months ago to develop a range of new merchandise for the summer of 2019 we realised that we wanted more than just a logo on a t-shirt. We wanted to embrace two key ideas: that whatever we produced would be sustainably-sourced, plastic-free, and designed to last; and also that it would tell the story of our connection to the environment.
Wellington artists Kemi & Niko
That’s when one of the team put up their hand and asked “why don’t we get some local artists to help?” Luckily for us we were soon put in touch with Kemi & Niko, a talented artistic duo based in Wellington who are also passionate Greens. Their brief was to develop a flexible piece of art, using the Green Heart icon that has become a part of the Green brand as a jumping off point.
With the design now complete and our new collection on sale, we sat down with Niko to ask a few questions about the duo’s practice, politics, and microplastics.
What motivates you as artists and illustrators?
Values are at the core of our practice. In our public art projects we look to connect individuals to their communities, and communities to their environments. We’re very excited right now about a large upcoming public art project exploring the use of ocean plastics which we’re launching in early 2019
What did you start with when creating the new design?
We began with the purapurawhetū, a traditional tukutuku pattern of stars. For us this represents diversity and the idea of living under the principles of the land.
The design is a collection of symbols that represent different stories and issues facing us in Aotearoa. Do you have one that is a favourite?
Probably the Banded Kokopu [at the top right of the design]. We live near Papawai reserve and visit it often, helping with community projects like tree planting. The return of banded kokopu to the Papawai stream is a real success story of urban waterways renewal and something I feel a deep connection to.
What’s the big issue you want to see action on?
There are so many! But we have just returned from the Pacific Climate Change Conference - part of the Deep South Challenge - which looked at the way climate change issues are communicated. What was really interesting was that they invited artists to the table, not just scientists. We have to find new ways to rally our people around what we really care about. This is something we can do really well in New Zealand. We’ve done it before on the nuclear free issue, on apartheid, and we need to do it again now.
Support the Green Party and the work of local artists by purchasing some of our great new merchandise: drink bottles made from a mixture of bamboo and glass, jute shopping bags, t-shirts and tank-tops. There’s also our Green green tea, from Ritual Tea Company, and the Green Party blend from People’s coffee.