Feather, Pineapple, Eye: Native Hawaiian Voice and Visibility in the Photography of Kapulani Landgraf

Mentor: Cristin Cash

Abstract: This project investigates contemporary art and traditional Hawaiian objects, as well as the institutions on the Islands that display these objects to the public. My goal for this project is twofold. First I investigate how contemporary Hawaiian artists are referencing pre-contact objects in their artworks. To do this I primarily compare the ahu’ula, or feather cloaks made for Hawaiian elite during the pre-contact era, and the works of contemporary Hawaiian artist Kapulani Landgraf. I then turn my attention to the museums, specifically the Bishop Museum and the Honolulu Museum of Art. I look at how these institutions separate objects into the categories of artifact and fine art object, and in turn how these objects are then treated and displayed due to these distinctions. This topic captured my attention due to my desire to understand how objects and museums are a part of the discussion taking place in the state of Hawaii about the identity of the island and those inhabiting it.