TAPA

Textiles embody the cross over of 'applied' and 'fine' arts coalescing in patterns and  design for adornment and utility. It's one thread through my work; issues of high and low art, craft, the functional and the fine.

 

5 Paintings/5Textiles was created for my undergraduate thesis exhibition in Art and Ethnography at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa (1982), and included five 30–40 foot long hanging hand-painted textiles based on ancient Hawaiian tapa cloth motifs. The designs were in turn originally inspired by natural forms, such as the sea urchin pattern or the snake pattern. These formal elements were then worked into corresponding paintings, depicting the figure in an action relating to the design.

 

Worm

Sea Urchin

Hula, detail

The classic Missionary muu-muu (long dress), still worn in Hawai’i, inspired "Missionary Dress" (1983) made of a hand-stamped tapa pattern created from wood block prints, cut and printed on handiwipes; contemporary domestic cleaning material (synthetic) mimicking natural tapa cloth. This piece references the white man's "cleansing" of native Polynesian religion, culture, and body, when indigenous women of the time were forced to cover their bodies in the western religious tradition of the late 1700's during colonialization of the Islands.