‘To change the world, we must change the way we see it first’ – Photos expose controversial industry

Wednesday 11 November 2020 | Written by Supplied | Published in Art, Features


‘To change the world, we must  change the way we see it first’ – Photos expose controversial industry
Photographer Alex King with renowned carver Mike Tavioni. 20111005 (All Photos: Alex King Photography)

Local photographer Alex King's recent exhibition in Rarotonga sheds light on the environmental effects of the palm oil industry.

Over 140 guests were wowed by the moving photographs and heartfelt message at the Sumatra: The Last Place on Earth’ exhibition hosted in collaboration with Kia Orana Collective (KOCo) on Friday evening.

Highlighting the devastating effects of the palm oil industry on nature, wildlife and climate; photographer Alex King reminded her attendees that to change the world, “we must change the way we see it first”.

Eight-year-old student, Liana Chan, from Apii Nikao presented the facts on the palm oil industry and its effects on the orangutans.

Having researched the topic thoroughly with her teacher Lysia Stringer, Chan’s message was loud and clear: “It would be such a shame to see these intelligent and gentle cousins of ours disappear forever. So now, knowing what we know, you must ask yourself, is it worth it to buy these palm oil products?”

The audience was transported to Indonesia on the night with three traditional performances; the Pendet, Yapong and Kecak.

The Kecak consisted of 20 men sitting in a circle chanting, while three performers danced in the middle. 

Resti Burgess, representative of the Indonesian community in the Cook Islands, said: “Not only are we proud of the success of our dance performances supporting Alex’s exhibition and, her cause on preserving mother nature vs the palm oil industry, we are also proud of the love and passion Alex showed us on the night; for our people and our culture.”

“It was the most beautiful thing we, as a foreign community, could have expected. The pat on my shoulder from the audience also touched a deep part of my heart as a gesture of love and care from the local community in the Cook Islands.”

Alex King gave a very heartfelt speech addressing the Indonesian community. “Your input and hard work in our country should not be taken for granted. We appreciate you. And we must understand where and what you have come from,” she said.

“My message from this exhibition is this, to change the world, we must change the way we see it first. Create a space in your heart to approach our world with compassion. I have learnt that life is just too short and what we have, we must be grateful for.”

Over $1000 was raised for the Orangutan Information Centre and Nature For Change.

Master of Ceremony and event planner, Amy Kainuku from Kia Orana Collective acknowledged key supporters and sponsors.

“There has been an overwhelming level of support for Alex’s cause. It makes me proud to see our people step up for what is right and to support something bigger than ourselves.

“Kia Orana Collective advocates for those without a voice. We provide space for conversation, consideration and compassion. We are proud to have been able to provide a platform for our Indonesian brothers and sisters to showcase their culture.”

To find out more about the not-for-profits, the palm oil industry and Alex King, you can sign up for a free digital copy of the exhibition booklet by emailing Amy Kainuku: manager@kiaoranacollective.com.