Graphic design student and LYC volunteer Morro Qiu is about to finish his Masters in Art and Design at AUT. We spoke to Morro about his latest project and its relevance to the LGBT community.
So what is this project about?
My latest project is about the meaning of the word "Home" to the Asian gay men in Auckland, as well as the interplay between text and photographs.
I've got more than ten guys to take part in my work - they've been telling me their life stories and what Home means to them. These guys are aged from their 20s to their 50s, originally from six different countries. They've been living in Auckland for a while.
It's a graphic design project so I'm not telling you directly what it means - I want you to figure it out through my photographs.
What made you want to do this?
I wanted to do this project because I was quite confused when I first asked myself what Home means to me. I was dating someone at the time and we had a big argument about the future and living together. So I really wanted to know what other people think, and also I'd never really explored what Home means to other gay men.
What was the process like?
It took a year to finish the interviews. During this time I got to know a lot more about these guys, as well as the community. I used three words - Home, Homo and Me, to describe the meaning of Home both to these guys and myself. I believe Home has multiple meanings.
What does Home mean to you?
I was born in China and I've been living in New Zealand for three years. I'm proud to be part of the community - they haven't just been helping me with my project, but they've been helping me to understand myself more - also my family. When I say "family" I mean the Asian gay community here, because they're definitely my family in New Zealand.
I'm still not sure if I understand what Home means to me, but I do know what it means for the guys in my project. They enjoy living here, and they appreciate everything, even if they do have a different meaning of home for themselves. So that's a future exploration for me - to figure out what home means for myself.
How did you make friends when you first got to New Zealand and how was it different to China?
When I came to New Zealand I met most of my friends through badminton. I also played in the NZ Falcons last year.
Being gay in New Zealand is pretty free and easy - I don't need to worry about my sexual orientation because people respect each other and they don't really care about what you're doing in your private life. But for me, being gay in New Zealand is not much different from being gay in China, because I still just hang out with friends who accept me being gay.
What advice would you give to any LGBT who have recently arrived in NZ?
The only advice I would give to any Asian LGBT who've just arrived in NZ to be open-minded and try to make friends. I believe if you can make friends here, you can actually be happier here.