A peek into Rebecca Louise Law’s notebook

Tucked in Gallery 7 beside Alexander Calder’s Object with Yellow Background stands the door to the Robert Allerton Art Library. Along with holding an extensive catalog of 40,000 books, periodicals, and biographical files, the library now includes Objects of an Awakening—a glass case filled with a notebook, etchings, seeds, dried flowers, bits of plastic marine debris and shells. It is a glimpse into the process of Rebecca Louise Law—the artist behind the popular installation Awakening.

“It’s a different aspect that gives you a different access into the exhibition and the artwork,” says Librarian Vera Lee.

The objects showcased are from Law’s December 2022 artist residency at the Honolulu Museum of Art. For two weeks, she worked with the Art School’s studio program teachers, and together, they tried out different art practices—from papermaking to printmaking. Through these sessions, the artists got the chance to learn from each other.

Law’s notebook rests in the center of Objects of an Awakening. Its illustrations reflect what took place during her residency. Come for repeat visits—Lee turns the pages every so often. Surrounding the diary are prints, glazed ceramic and metallic eyes, and handmade paper from her sessions with the school faculty, carefully selected by Lee. “I veered towards the ones that were in her presentation, like the eyes or shells. I thought they were in keeping with the theme of Awakening.”

The organic items are a tiny example of Law’s ongoing foraging. “She describes her work as a growing archive, and so she collects,” explains Lee. “She records images, but she also collects samples.”

Objects of an Awakening will remain on view through September 10—the last day to see Law’s botanical installation Awakening. However, it won’t be the last display to enhance HoMA’s permanent and temporary exhibitions. “We’ll always have something here to complement [exhibitions],” Lee says. She envisions the library as “a space for a presentation of processes, and sketches can be included or sometimes diaries. There will always be a more intimate aspect featured in the library.”

Browse the HoMA Library’s collection here.