Arts roundtable explores theme of "injustice against the land" in Atherton, March 22
The Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, and Hawaiʻi Public Radio present a visual arts roundtable in HPR's Atherton Studio on March 22, at 6:00 p.m. The theme of the conversation is our relationship with the land and discussants include Lebanese artist Reem Bassous, Hawaiian artist Kapulani Landgraf, and UH Mānoa professor of English Cynthia Franklin. Honolulu Museum of Art’s curator for Arts of Hawai‘i Healoha Johnston and HPR’s arts and culture reporter Noe Tanigawa serve as the evening's moderators.
Intended as the first in a series of arts conversations hosted by HPR in its 75-seat gathering space, this Atherton event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be offered at the end of the hour-and-a-half discussion. Reservations may be made by calling the station (955-8821) during regular business hours. The Atherton Studio is located at Hawaiʻi Public Radio, 738 Kāheka Street.
Both Bassous and Landgraf share a common commitment to interpreting issues of injustice linked to a particular place. Reem currently has an exhibition on view at the Honolulu Museum of Art (through March 27, 2016) entitled "Beyond the Archive: Paintings by Reem Bassous." Her subject matter deals with the post-Lebanese Civil War existence, while Kapulani Landgraf’s work centers on how the Hawaiian landscape has disappeared to make way for construction projects, and how the land has been used as a resource for natural materials such as sand, to soil, and granite.
About the panel participants:
Reem Bassous is a lecturer in the Art Department at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and Leeward Community College. She employs a mixed media approach in an attempt to translate her experience under sectarian strife into a stabilized visual form. Drawing, painting, burning, cutting, and staining on paper and canvas formulate her explorations of the socio-political tensions that condition everyday life in Lebanon. Steeped in historical references, Bassous's work is contextualized in the present through the interplay between past events and contemporary situations. She weaves together a seemingly unpredictable surface of heavy acrylic paint and burn marks, while the underlying element – the grid – asserts itself to achieve order amongst competing religious symbols and blurred recollections.
Cynthia Franklin is professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her areas of interest are contemporary women’s literature, ethnic U.S. literatures, life writing, disability studies, feminist theory, cultural studies, and Palestine. She is co-editor of the journal Biography, published by UH Press. Currently she is working on a book project Dehumanization Denaturalized: Human Stories about Uncivil States.
Healoha Johnston is curator, Arts of Hawai‘i, at Honolulu Museum of Art. She curated "Beyond the Archive: Paintings by Reem Bassous," and is now installing the exhibition "Hawai‘i in Design," on view through March 12, 2017. Johnston is interested in Hawai‘i’s relationship to historic and contemporary art trajectories, and the exchange that comes from having a distinct local identity in an art world that is increasingly global.
Kapulani Landgraf is assistant professor of Hawaiian Visual Art and Photography at Kapiʻolani Community College. Most recently, she collaborated with Mark Hamasaki and published Ē Luku Wale Ē: Devastation Upon Devastation, a photo-documentary publication that chronicles the building of Hawai‘i Interstate H-3 and the sacred sites under it that were covered over and thus destroyed. The book also tells the history of a massive engineering project that created the H-3 freeway. Through photographs and text, Ē Luku Wale Ē tells of the loss of what was and which had deep meaning to Native Hawaiians. Landgraf received the 2013 Visual Arts Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, and the 2014 Joan Mitchell Painters & Sculptors Grant. Her previous books, Nā Wahi Pana o Ko‘olau Poko (University of Hawai‘i Press, 1994) and Nā Wahi Kapu o Maui (‘Ai Pohaku Press, 2003), received Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards for Excellence in Illustrative Books in 1995 and 2004, respectively.
Noe Tanigawa covers art, culture, and ideas for Hawai'i Public Radio. Tanigawa began working in news at WQXR, The New York Times' classical station in New York City, where she also hosted music programs from 1990-94. Prior to New York, she was a music host in jazz, rock, urban contemporary, and contemporary and classic Hawaiian music formats in Honolulu. Since arriving at HPR in 2002, she has received awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, the Society of Professional Journalists Hawai'i Chapter, and an Edward R. Murrow Regional Award for coverage of the budget process at the Hawai'i State Legislature. Tanigawa holds a Masters in Painting from UH M?noa. She maintains an active painting practice, and has recently returned from a 2015 residency with the U.S. Art in Embassies program in Palau. Her story on Kapulani Landgraf can be found here.