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17 May 2023

Threads of Knowledge: The Intricacies of Hawaiian Textiles

What that Quilt Knows About Me features quilts whose textiles and styles reflect global histories of conflict in the 18th and 19th centuries. One quilt in the exhibition is Ku’u Hae Aloha (“My Beloved Flag”), a rare 19th-century Hawaiian flag quilt that carries powerful political meaning in opposition to the United States’s annexation of Hawaii in 1893.

The program “Threads of Knowledge: The Intricacies of Hawaiian Textiles” invites us to examine the ways in which vibrant Hawaiian cloth culture speaks to a complex system of material exchange and colonialism in the Pacific and beyond.

Native Hawaiian artist and activist Bernice Akamine draws from a long tradition of Hawaiian weaving to reflect on the islands’ current historical and ecological moment. Weaved in kapa (a bark cloth made from the wauke plant), her protest piece Hae Hawaii strips the Hawaiian flag quilt down to its most basic element to express patriotic pride and the perseverance of the lāhui (sovereignty in Hawaiian).

Joiri Minaya, a Dominican-American multidisciplinary artist, destabilizes historic and contemporary representations of Indigenous identity by concealing bodies in tropical pattern design and fabric. In her series I can wear tropical print now where she juxtaposes Aloha shirts with Hawaiian design prints, the artist reveals the colonial violence hidden in the production and consumption of tourist fantasy spaces.

In dialogue with curator Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick, Akamine and Minaya will explore the Hawaiian flag and Hawaiian-style quilt aesthetics from a post-colonial perspective. The history of Hawaiian weaving, design and pattern will serve as a springboard for a broader consideration of tropicalism, and its entanglement with settler colonialism and the appropriation of lands and traditions.

Space is limited; advance registration is required. Please consider making a donation when you register to support ongoing virtual programming. Instructions for joining with a Zoom link and password will be provided by email upon registration confirmation under “Additional Information.” Closed captioning will be provided in English. For questions or to request accessibility accommodations, please email

About the Artists

Bernice Akamine is a Hawaii Island cultural practitioner, sculptor and installation artist. Her first solo exhibition on Kauaì will include two bodies of work, Kalo, a mixed-media installation representing 87 individual kalo plants sculpted from the pages of Kè: The Hui Aloha Aina Anti-Annexation Petitions 1897–1898 (Petitions). Long-time conceptualized by the artist Papahanaumoku, Earth Mother was materialized in response to the emergency alert of April 13, 2017, mixed media, including Papahonua, bullet casing, glass, àlaea and lepo; Kaua`ì, Oàhu, and Hawaii. Akamine is one of four native Hawaiian artists selected for the II Honolulu Biennial in 2019. She has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Selected awards include a 2015 Native Hawaiian Artist Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation; a 2012 Community Scholar Award from the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History; and a 1999 Visiting Artist Award at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.

Joiri Minaya is a Dominican-United Statesian multi-disciplinary artist whose work investigating the female body within constructions of identity, multi-cultural social spaces and hierarchies. Born in New York, U.S, she grew up in the Dominican Republic. She graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic (2009), the Altos de Chavón School of Design (2011) and Parsons the New School for Design (2013). She has participated in residencies like Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Guttenberg Arts, Smack Mellon, BronxArtSpace, Bronx Museum’s AIM Program, the NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, Transmedia Lab at MA Scène Nationale, Red Bull House of Art Detroit, Lower East Side Printshop Keyholder Artist, Socrates Sculpture Park, Art Omi and Vermont Studio Center. Minaya has exhibited internationally across the Caribbean and the U.S. She is a grantee from the Nancy Graves Foundation, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation (Emerging Artist Grant), the Joan Mitchell Foundation (Emerging Artist and Painters and Sculptors Grants), the Great prize and the Audience Award XXV Concurso de Arte Eduardo León Jimenes, the Exhibition Prize Centro de la Imagen (D.R.), and the Great Prize of the XXVII Biennial at the Museo de Arte Moderno (D.R).

Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick is an artist, curator, and educator from Mōkapu on the windward side of the island of Oʻahu, in U.S. occupied Hawaii. Currently, he serves as director of Koa Gallery, Kapiʻolani Community College and is an active member of kekahi wahi (2020 – ), a film collective focused on documenting stories of transformation throughout the Pacific. From 2019 to 2022 he was an associate curator of the inaugural Hawaii Triennial: Pacific Century – E Hoʻomau no Moananuiākea. In 2020 he co-edited CONTACT (2014 – 2019), a publication documenting the annual, open-call, thematic exhibition of the same name that explored notions of “contact” as they relate to the Hawaiian archipelago. Raised in a deep-rooted matriarchy, Drew’s work is inspired and guided by the multigenerational efforts of his mother, aunties, and maternal grandmother, who have all devoted their lives to art, education, and community in Hawaii. Collaborative projects in development include ʻAi Pōhaku, Stone Eaters (2023), an expansive offering of Native Hawaiian artistic and cultural practices; I OLA KANALOA (2019 – ), a community-oriented process guided by the voices of Kanaloa-Kahoʻolawe and Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana; and Revisiting Kealakekua Bay, Reworking the Captain Cook Monument (2018-2024), a gathering of unrealized interventionist proposals by a motley crew of international practitioners.

Images: Left: Attributed to Mary Sherman Thompson, Hawaiian Flag Quilt, Hawaii, Late 19th century, Cotton, 77 x 75 in. American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Larry Amundson and Gordanna Amundson Cole, 2001.19. 1 Middle: Bernice Akamine, Hae Hawaii, Hawaiian Flag, 2021, undyed tapa and bark cloth. Courtesy of the artist. Left: Joiri Minaya, I can wear tropical print now series, 2018, found used shirt, found fabric, 40 x 32 x 3. Courtesy of the artist.

6:00 pm–7:15 pm

Virtual; free with registration