Honolulu Biennial 2019

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    Nicholas Galanin (b. 1979, Tlingit, Unangax̂; Alaska), "We Dreamt Deaf", 2015. Polar bear taxidermy. Courtesy of the artist.

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    Kapulani Landgraf (b. 1966, Kānaka ‘Ōiwi; Hawaiʻi), " ‘Au‘a," 2019. Digital metal print. On loan from the artist.

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    Marie Watt (b. 1967, Seneca, U.S.), "Companion Species (Speech Bubble)", 2019. Reclaimed wool blankets, embroidery floss, thread. Courtesy of the artist.

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March 09, 2019 - May 05, 2019
Honolulu Museum of Art

Exhibition Overview

The Honolulu Museum of Art is partnering with the Honolulu Biennial Foundation (HBF) as an institutional venue to present artworks by Kapulani Landgraf, Marie Watt, Nicholas Galanin, and the artist collective Postcommodity in conjunction with Honolulu Biennial 2019, To Make Wrong / Right / Now. Starting on March 9, the installations will span two museum galleries and feature seminal work by each artist surrounding issues pertaining to the Pacific region.

This year's Biennial theme is inspired by a poem from kānaka maoli artist Imaikalani Kalahele called "Manifesto," which explores rectifying colonial injustices through connecting to one's ancestry and transcending time and generations. The curatorial approach by co-curators Scott Lawrimore and Nina Tonga along with assistant curator Joshua Tengan is firmly rooted in the continuum of indigenous knowledge, decolonization, survival in the face of intergenerational trauma, mana wāhine (female empowerment), contesting histories, and a deep reverence for the land, ocean and wahi pana (storied places).

Kapulani Landgraf’s new body of work is in response to a historic speech delivered by scholar and activist Dr. Haunani K. Trask at ‘Iolani Palace in 1993. Landgraf’s installation includes 100 photographic portraits mounted floor-to-ceiling on gallery walls, as the artist explores the potential to affect change through civic engagement.

Postcommodity’s multi-channel video installation, Gallup Motel Butchering, considers how the impulse to reproduce sub/urban development models out of sync with place specificities conflicts with land-specific cultural protocols that challenge hegemonic assumptions.

Mixed-media artist Marie Watt brings people together in the form of a sewing circle to co-create elements that she develops into a larger artwork. She explains: “I am interested in how each person’s stitch is unique and signature-like. Threads come together to form a web, also a metaphor for community…. In an age where so much of our lives are mediated by technology, there is something to be said for gathering in such an ordinary and neighborly way.”

Nicholas Galanin grapples with the issue of climate change through his large-scale sculpture, We Dreamt Deaf from the perspective of a Native Alaskan artist whose approach to land-human dynamics closely parallels Hawaiian philosophies. Yet, the artist says We Dreamt Deaf, implicating all of humanity in the discussion of climate change, and the need for us to turn our attention toward the natural world.

This exhibition is made possible by Native Arts & Cultures Foundation and Second Sister Foundation. Additional support provided by Herb and Nancy Conley, Judy Pyle and Wayne Pitluck, Elizabeth Grossman, The Taiji and Naoko Terasaki Family Foundation, and Sharon Twigg-Smith

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