Kapulani Landgraf works in photography, collage and installation, creating works about her ancestral homeland of Hawai’i. In contrast to the tourist clichés of Hawai’i presented through images of sunsets, golden sands, surfers and hula girls, Landgraf explores the continued sense of custodianship and responsibility that indigenous Hawaiians – Kanaka Māoli – feel for their ‘‘aina’ (land). Her photographic landscapes range from poetic evocations of sacred sites – recording prominent geographical, cultural and archaeological features – to politically charged collages addressing exploitation and subsequent despair.
The collages – painstakingly created by the artist between 1994 and the present day –highlight the destruction caused by North American colonisation, as well as more recent multinational, agricultural, military and tourist development on the islands of Hawai’i, the works are densely layered with references to significant sites, legends and beliefs. They also refer to a range of introduced practices – from language to irrigation methods – that have directly affected the land and its people. In each of Landgraf’s works, the postcard paradise of Hawai’I is literally cut up and reassembled, and colonial ideas of partitioning and division are reconfigured as an elegy to what the Kanaka Māoli have lost.
Exhibited in 'The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT9) | 24 Nov 2018 – 28 Apr 2019