(P047)
Ka Waihona Palapala Mānaleo: Challenging Provenance in a Time of Resource Abundance
Location British Museum - Sackler A
Date and Start Time 02 Jun, 2018 at 09:00
Sessions 1

Convenor

  • Sarah Tamashiro (University of Hawaii at Manoa) email

Mail All Convenors

Chair Karen Jacobs (University of East Anglia)

Short abstract

Hawaiian academics are utilizing (alter)native sources to contribute and create a Hawaiian historiography. What is the potential of these resources for forwarding Hawaiian art history and history?

Long abstract

Eighteenth and nineteenth-century Hawaiian material culture are scattered across the world, often with provenances that include little information about the object's use and value in the society that which it was sourced from. In a time of Native source abundance and reclamation of Indigenous language archives, researchers are working to expand current understandings of the Hawaiian past.  How does the availability of first-person accounts by Hawaiians affect and contribute to the current historiography on the Hawaiian history, art history, and visual culture?  How can traditional and empirical Hawaiian knowledge challenge the current standards for adequate provenance of material culture? Panelists will discuss how they are utilizing textual (newspaper articles, songs, chants, laws) in solving art historical questions, as well as their methodologies and their current challenges with their respective research.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Recovering lost significances: early collections and contemporary practices

Author: Antje Denner (National Museums Scotland) email

Short abstract

Focussing on Hawaiian barkcloth and a collaborative project that combines research on a historical museum collection and fieldwork with contemporary makers, this paper discusses the interrelationship between materiality and practice/experience/creativity in processes of knowledge production.

Long abstract

Within collection studies and the investigation of art, materiality, historical and contemporary aesthetic practices, Pacific barkcloth has become an increasingly popular topic. Early Hawaiian barkcloth (kapa) is famous for its highly accomplished techniques and intriguing ornamentation. Explorers and travellers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries were impressed by the variety of textures and designs, and collected large quantities of the material. However, while Polynesian barkcloth fascinated and inspired scholars and elites in London, Paris and Berlin alike, in the Hawaiian Islands the introduction of woven European cloth and other Western influences led to the gradual decline and, by the end of the 19th century, the abandonment of barkcloth production.

This paper presents first results of an ongoing project on a collection of early Pacific/Hawaiian barkcloths located in the National Museum of Scotland, which combines revisiting and 'unpacking' (Byrne 2011) the historical material with research and fieldwork in Hawai'i to collaborate with curators and contemporary makers who, since the 1960s, have revived the tradition. The aim to assess the significance and potential of the Edinburgh collection has led to an intensive exchange of information and ideas about the objects, the loss and recovery of production techniques, the importance of kapa in affirming local identity, and efforts to develop 'kapa for the 21st century'. Moreover, it has become clear that in the processes of knowledge production and transformation that pivot on Hawaiian barkcloth, historic collections and contemporary practice and experiences complement and reinforce each other, thus making collaboration essential.

Kapa, Cloth, and Self-Fashioning, 1800-1860

Author: Sarah Tamashiro (University of Hawaii at Manoa) email

Short abstract

While anthropological approaches can provide insight about changing values and trends in Hawaiian dress, Hawaiian language texts better timeline Hawaiian changes in self-fashioning in the 19th century.

Long abstract

Kapa (barkcloth), its manufacture, and use is one of the most studied areas of Pacific Art History and Material Culture. Contemporary researchers that are seeking answers about what led to the decline in use and production of Hawaiian kapa in the 19th century have depended heavily on stylistic details and material analysis to build their chronology. While anthropological approaches can provide insight about changing values and trends in Hawaiian dress, Hawaiian language texts better timeline Hawaiian changes in self-fashioning in the 19th century. Utilizing Hawaiian language primary sources, "Kapa, Cloth, and Self-Fashioning, 1800-1860" will consider how changing modes of Hawaiian self-fashioning led to new uses and methods of creating kapa and the increased availability of kapa for trade with foreigners. How can Hawaiian textual sources better contextualize the provenance of Hawaiian kapa in museums? How can Hawaiian language reactivate objects of cultural significance?

The Power of Representation through Words and Images: King Kalākaua, Japanese Immigrants, and Spreckelsville

Author: Ami Mulligan (University of Hawaii at Manoa) email

Short abstract

The provenance of objects holds histories both illuminated and obscured by power. Power can be established and perpetuated with narratives formed by material and textual representations. Examining a broader range of narratives concurrently created with the painting can expand its historical context.

Long abstract

In 1885, a painting of Japanese laborers on Spreckelsville plantation on the island of Maui was completed by Joseph Strong. The painting was commissioned by King Kālakaua, and was intended to be a gift to Emperor Meiji of Japan. The painting portrays an image of Japanese laborers on a sugar cane plantation, with other sugar cane laborers in the background and is currently owned by the Mitsui Corporation of Japan.

This painting seems to represent the future of Hawai'i envisioned by - the sugar economy and the Japanese laborers that were intended not only to work the plantations but to help bolster the declining Hawaiian population. Yet, it also masks the Hawaiian language discourse contemporaneous with the arrival of Japanese immigrants, first in 1868 with the Gannen Mono and restarting again in 1885 with the arrival of the Kanyaku Imin. What was salient to the Hawaiian people about the Japanese immigrants and their arrival, and of the sugar plantations, specifically on Spreckelsville, Maui, where the first Japanese immigrants worked? What representational power do images (like paintings) and words (like newspapers) produce through narratives whose legacies remain in the present?

I ka ʻōlelo no ke ola: Hawaiian textual materiality, embodied speech and object narratives

Author: Noelani Arista (University of Hawai'i at Manoa) email

Short abstract

Tracing the 1875 Grand Tour of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop this paper will consider her collection of objects and self fashioning, while suggesting that materiality is also deeply tied to the Hawaiian emphasis on the power of words to give life.

Long abstract

The Hawaiian language textual source base is the largest in any indigenous language in the Polynesian Pacific and the United States. Tracing the 1875 Grand Tour of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop this paper will consider her collection of objects and self-fashioning while suggesting that materiality, is also deeply tied to the importance Hawaiians place on the power of words to give life. Narratives celebrating the power and beauty of Hawaiian royalty in the nineteenth century circulated in the islands through the performance of oli (chant) and mele (song.) Textual archival materials supply both these traditional modes of communicating life narratives while newspapers, personal letters and government documents written in Hawaiian and English relay information of interest to a foreign audience. In what ways can digital and auditory means of communicating information intervene to amplify and better interpret indigenous narratives about objects housed in colonial spaces. How can indigenous textual archives inform museum presentations to evoke meaning from the transit of words, people, and things.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.