Aloha TRADES ‘Ohana,
Greetings from a changed and changing world. As we begin to emerge from the pandemic’s shadow and navigate a way forward, we wanted to share with you some of what has occupied us in the interim. As an initiative dedicated to fostering connections between artists and audiences, and between the local and the global—we conscientiously paused our usual practice of inviting artists to Hawai‘i and integrating them with our local communities. Like all of you, we turned inward, tending our home fires and taking care of our own—reinforcing our local partnerships; supporting those close at hand; and gradually reintegrating programming at first virtually, and then, when permissible, in person. We proceed onward with cautious optimism, adapting to our new shared reality, and looking forward to when we might fully return to form. As always, we are grateful for your interest, encouragement, and support.
Phillip Zach was with us in January and February of 2020, seeking the histories hidden in the circulation of materials. For Phillip, that meant connecting with willing teachers, and being an attentive and open listener. Zach spent time on Maui with Uncle Walter, Clare Apana, and Paul Hanada; activists dedicated to the environmental and cultural preservation of the inland sand dunes—site of the historical Battle of Kakanilua (Battle of the Feather Capes) and of contemporary industrial sand mining that desecrates native Hawaiian burials. Phillip learned more about iwi na kūpuna (bones of the ancestors) from cultural practitioner Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, then chair of the O‘ahu Island Burial Council; and also spent time with Kupa‘a Hee of the Hawai‘i Snail Extinction Prevention Program, hearing about their efforts to protect native endangered snails from eradication. Phillip’s interviews and research are thoughtfully observed and framed in his newly completed film Hunger for Sand.
Along with our friends at Pu‘uhonua Society and Tropic Editions, we ensured that Aupuni Space continued to serve artists and audiences of Hawai‘i throughout the pandemic. Mounting shows; hosting and streaming talks and screenings; and allowing exhibition viewing by appointment and in keeping with covid regulations. We acknowledge and celebrate this perseverance.
In collaboration with Koa Gallery at Kapiolani Community College; with the cooperation of the Honolulu Museum of Art, Arts and Letters Nu‘uanu, and Aupuni Space; and the generous support of Laila Twigg-Smith Art Fund—TRADES co-hosted core contributors Jackson Polys (Tlingit), Adam Khalil (Ojibway), and Zack Khalil (Ojibway) of the New Red Order (NRO) in February and March of 2021. NRO is a “public secret society” employing self-described “informants” to subversively yet earnestly interrogate desires—individual and collective—for indigeneity. NRO’s project while in Hawai‘i—Out of Step, In Place—explored the similarities / dissimilarities, connections and disconnections between different indigenous practices and concerns in the arts around appropriation and collaboration. NRO temporarily repositioned their Alaska Native and American Indian perspectives into constellation with a Native Hawaiian context, to discern how place-based indigenous systems of knowledge might coexist and communicate with one another. NRO’s residency included studio visits with artists, collection research at the Bishop Museum, and a window installation at the Koa Gallery. NRO presented three public evenings of film programming with panel conversations moderated by Drew Kahu‘āina Broderick (curator, Koa Gallery) and Taylour Chang (curator, Honolulu Museum of Art) that were also available by streaming.
TRADES, along with the University of Hawai‘i, now welcomes the return of Kanaka Maoli artist Tiare Ribeaux with collaborator Jody Stillwater for November 2021. In February of this year, Tiare and Jody (Lenape Creative Group) curated an in-person/online screening of short films organized around the theme of “Mythic Temporalities” with a discussion moderated by Marika Emi (co-director, Aupuni Space). They now return as part of a multi-year film and multimedia project Manawa Iki, Manawa Mau Loa (A Moment, An Eternity) focused on healing from intergenerational trauma by reengaging with Kanaka Maoli understandings of (a)temporality and cosmology. In this phase of the project, Kō Kākou Manawa (Our Time), Tiare and fellow Kanaka artist Nanea Lum invite fellow artists to participate in a series of workshops to co-vision multimedia projects that utilize and uplift Hawaiian heritage, narratives, and culture.
These workshops provide a practical response to recent calls for the University of Hawai‘i to decolonize the curriculum and faculty of the Department of Art. Former and current students organized to publish a broadsheet (see decolonizeuh.art) revivifying 25 year old calls to indigenize the curriculum. While institutional change may be slow and incremental, Nanea and Tiare will create literal and metaphorical space, occupying the department with collaborative Kanaka envisioned art-making. Doing so, within the physical structure of the art building and with the support of the department, demonstrates positive steps towards this reclamation. Kō Kākou Manawa (Our Time) is supported by TRADES A.i.R., the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund, GRICC Contemporary Gallery, and the UH Mānoa Department of Art and Art History.
Finally we congratulate our former TRADES A.i.R.s on their recent accomplishments: Michael Wang for his inclusion in the 2021 Shanghai Biennale; Eve Fowler for her 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship; Sung Hwan Kim for his 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship; and Sung Hwan Kim (with collaborator David Michael DiGregorio) for the MoMA premiere of their Hawai‘i-made film Hair is a piece of head in conjunction with their exhibition Temper Clay.
As always TRADES A.i.R. relies on your generosity to sustain our efforts. Contributions in any amount are greatly appreciated. Mahalo for your continued support.
We wish to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Atherton Family Foundation, The Cooke Foundation as well as the following:
Charlton Kupaʻa Hee
Jaimey Hamilton Faris
Glenn & Susan Shea
The Laila Twigg-Smith Art Fund
Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick
Kapiʻolani Community College
Howard & Jana Wolff
Short Attention Span University