On March 15th, 2019, during Friday’s prayers, 51 people were killed and many more
were wounded in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. This terrorist attack was
described by our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”;
an event the likes of which we have not seen in this country.
Then, from the darkness came light.
Millions of people came together in support of the martyrs, the shuhada, their
families, and all the people affected by the attacks. People donated money, gave flowers,
wrote letters, and offered their time towards helping others. Many started genuine
conversations; a dialogue to start learning from each other’s cultures.
Darkness into Light looks to honour the Shuhada, the taken, and the people they left
behind. The photographed objects and places serve as witness to an act, carrying the
tragedy that accompanied the Shuhada (Martyrs) and other affected individuals. The
artworks and the voices from those directly affected, addresses the emotional and
psychological resonance of the acts of violence rather that the scenes of destruction and
loss. They emphasise their intense feelings of grief, vulnerability, strength, healing process
as well as the immense price paid to empower our society to start a serious conversation
about some of the systemic problems we have.
Darkness into Light also came from a need to highlight the limitations of public media
coverage of these events by filling out generalised; even stereotyped, narratives with the
nuance and intimacy that exists in the lives of those personally affected. They have their
own stories to tell and no one else should do that for them, though we may support and
empower as our gifts allow.
Darkness into Light is a call to all of us, so our memory of this tragedy is not
forgotten and does not fade away.
It is an invitation to take action to create a more inclusive society.