Exhibition Opening Reception: Weaving a Net(work) of Care for Oceanic Collections


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Reception and tour

When: Jul 31 2022 - 2:00pm until Jul 31 2022 - 3:30pm
Where: EWC Gallery. 1601 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI

Please join us on for a reception and gallery tour at the gala opening of the new EWC exhibit "Weaving a Net(work) of Care for Oceanic Collections". This event is free and open to the public.

About the exhibition

Fishtrap from KiribatiIn 2019, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) put out a call for projects that addressed “A More Perfect Union” in commemoration of the United States of America’s 250th anniversary. Often, when speaking of “a more perfect union,” we are focused on the fifty united states, yet Oceanic communities and their humanities collections are vital to promoting a deeper and more complex understanding of America. This project, Weaving a Net(work) of Care for Oceanic Collections: A Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Museum Institute (NHPIMI), was a direct response to that call. Funded by NEH, this project provided professional development to 20 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders working in and with museums in American Sāmoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, Guåhan, Hawai‘i, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Sāmoa.

NHPIMI participants working on the collection at the East-West CenterSome fifty years prior, the East-West Center (EWC) had offered a six-month training program in ethnomusicology, museology, and archives management to individuals from the Asia Pacific region. Inspired by this history, the UH Mānoa Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program approached the EWC Arts Program to revitalize this concept. Presented jointly by UH Mānoa and the EWC, and in partnership with the Pacific Islands Museums Association and numerous local museums, institutions, and individuals, this 21st century version offered training in collections care, conservation, and exhibitions. The program began in 2022 with virtual sessions held from January through June, leading to a July four-week, in-person institute hosted at the East-West Center in Honolulu.

This exhibition is a testament to NHPIMI’s history, collaborative approach, and participatory process. It was created collectively by the NHPIMI cohort and planning team—a culmination of experiences illustrating the Net(work) of Care that this institute has cultivated. Hand-carried from home by cohort members, the items displayed here embody the important work being done across the Pacific to care for belongings, stories, and practices of local communities. They reveal relationships to people and place, to land and sea, to past and future ancestors. They may also reveal the complex political, social, and cultural terrain that Pacific peoples continue to navigate. Ultimately, they provide us an opportunity to consider several important questions: What are Oceanic collections? How do we care for what we love? And what connects us, the peoples of the Pacific?

NHPIMI logoThis exhibition was developed and designed collectively by the cohort and planning team as part of the Weaving a Net(work) of Care for Oceanic Collections: A Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Museum Institute.
NHPIMI Cohort: Ailini Ah Ken-Eteuati, Archie Ajoste, Pamela Alconcel, Wilbert Alik, Meked Besebes, Michael Bevacqua, Mina Elison, Nicole Dueñas, Regina Meredith Fitiao, Hōkū Ka‘aha‘aina, Kirikara Koraua, Mereia Luvunakoro, Erlinda Naputi, Erika Radewagen, Ku‘uleilani Reyes, Elyssa Santos, Ruby Satele, Tyler Warwick, Tiko Waundu
NHPIMI Planning Team: Eric Chang, Marina George, Noelle Kahanu, Halena Kapuni-Reynolds, Karen Kosasa, Annie Reynolds, Tarisi Vunidilo
Cohort artwork display: Meleanna Aluli Meyer and Marques Hanalei Marzan, facilitators
Installation: Lynne Najita