Raglan artist Yaniv Janson will exhibit his paintings at the United Nations in New York in June. The idea of Please Do Touch came from Yaniv’s idea to let people experience art through different senses and to push what is done and not done in the art world. At a previous exhibition he asked for the sign saying, ‘please don’t take photos’ to be covered with a sign reading ‘please DO take photos’.
Yaniv has autism and epilepsy, but he doesn’t let either dictate who he is. “I come up with my own ideas and I feel like I’m different from other artists, I can be myself through art,” he said. “Please Do Touch is different from what other artists do because who else can you think about that wants people to touch their art? Can you think of any other artists?”
The exhibition also touches heavily on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There are 17 major ideas behind these goals and Yaniv said he was inspired by these and chose five of the goals which he turned into themes to help make his paintings: Life Below Water, No Poverty, Clean Water and Sanitation, Climate Action and Sustainable Cities and Communities. For each theme there are two paintings. “I’m very excited, I’m looking forward to all the people I’m going to meet and I get to have 10 paintings on display. I’m feeling amazing about it all,” he said
Yaniv, 26, said it had always been a dream of his to exhibit his work at the UN in New York because it’s a way for his art and the message behind it to reach the whole world. This comes after a personal invitation to a conference by the Crown Prince of Montenegro last year, where he displayed his collection called Please Do Touch. He will be exhibiting this same installation at the UN.
Please Do Touch aims to break traditional boundaries between disability and art, inviting people to engage using all their senses. Yaniv received a grant from Creative New Zealand last year to fund two trips to Europe, where he exhibited work in Montenegro and the Unesco headquarters in Paris. Yaniv began painting 11 years ago. He creates his work from home and loves the freedom it brings him.
“I can paint as much as I decide, and I can choose what I want to paint, plus it’s something that can go all around the world.”
The exhibition runs from June 11-14, at the same time as the annual UN meeting for the rights of people with disabilities. Yaniv has won more than 18 awards, participated in more than 40 exhibitions and sold more than 160 paintings. He has also been a finalist for the Wallace Art Awards, the National Contemporary Arts Award and the National Youth Art Awards – New Zealand’s biggest art competitions – for the past few years.
Yaniv would also like to thank Creative New Zealand for their 2016 grant that allowed him to start this world tour and the Human Rights Commission for the Yaniv Janson Project, started on the Human Rights Commission website the day he turned 24.
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