PHOENIX — The Heard Museum not too long ago opened He‘e Nalu: The Artwork and Legacy of Hawaiian Browsing, an exhibition exploring the tradition of Kānaka Maoli, the Indigenous individuals of Hawaii, by means of the historical past and cultural significance of Hawaiian browsing. Curated by Carolyn Kuali’l (Kānaka Maoli) and Velma Kee Craig (Diné), the present contains modern artworks, site-specific installations, and historic materials made by cultural practitioners.
Centering Hawaiian Indigeneity brings a recent perspective to this house, provided that the Heard Museum reveals predominantly conventional and modern artworks by Indigenous peoples of the Southwest. But, the exhibition feels fragmented, partly as a result of it elevates Native Hawaiian voices with out firmly establishing the foundations of Kānaka Maoli storytelling.
Early on, viewers see Papa He’e Nalu I ka Wā Akua (Browsing in The Time of the Gods) (2022), a placing black-and-white portray by Solomon Robert Nui Enos (Kānaka Maoli), which is rooted within the Hawaiian creation story. Right here, akua (gods) set upon skateboards convey the pono (equilibrium) that’s central to the human physique and the remainder of the pure world. Whereas reflecting the character of browsing as a non secular and cultural follow, the work solely hints on the function of cosmology within the storytelling traditions of Native Hawaiians.
Alongside one wall of an adjoining gallery, numerous sorts of surfboards crafted by Tom “Pōhaku” Stone (Kānaka Maoli) counsel the breadth of browsing practices in Native Hawaiian tradition, whereas calling to the craft and materiality of those objects. Hand-cut paper portraits of Native Hawaiian icons who’ve contributed to the game and cultural follow of browsing cling close by. Created by Ian Joseph Kekoa Kuali’i(Kānaka Maoli/’Ndééh (Apache), the portraits counter the marginalization and erasure of Kānaka Maoli at the same time as they frustrate these looking for better insights into the tradition’s distinctive nature of story.
Featured video works are significantly efficient at addressing the advanced historical past of browsing and Native Hawaiian tradition, together with the impacts of colonization and the obvious cultural appropriation evident within the Southern California browsing scene. Together with her two-screen video set up Bikini and the bikini (2022), Nicole Naone (Kānaka Maoli) examines each the 23 nuclear gadgets detonated at Bikini Atoll in the course of the mid-Twentieth century and the bikini bathing swimsuit of the identical interval, elevating themes associated to violence, sexism, and commodification.
The exhibition additionally contains skateboard artwork by seven Indigenous non-Hawaiian artists, which reference the affect of browsing on “sidewalk browsing” and different sports activities. The decks replicate an intriguing array of symbolism and materiality, and counsel the various intersections of Kānaka Maoli with Indigenous cultures within the Southwest. However in addition they sign a missed alternative to additional elaborate on these relationships.
Even so, He‘e Nalu: The Artwork and Legacy of Hawaiian Browsing is an impactful exhibition, particularly when considered as a love letter to Kānaka Maoli browsing replete with Native Hawaiian historical past and language, and as a collective name to deeply take into account the methods cultural appropriation is manifest throughout the broad spectrum of up to date life—not solely inside the sphere of browsing.
He‘e Nalu: The Artwork and Legacy of Hawaiian Browsing continues on the Heard Museum (2301 North Central Avenue, Phoenix) by means of July 16. The exhibition was curated by Carolyn Kuali’l (Kānaka Maoli) and Velma Kee Craig (Diné).