Ho‘omau: The Perpetuation of Kapa

Posted on Feb 2, 2016 in Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions
Kapa with patterns of tattoo design running diagonally in deep reddish brown with rust and tan background

Untitled by Marie MacDonald


Ho’omau: The Perpetuation of Kapa
May 6, 2016 – January 21, 2017

Ho’omau: The Perpetuation of Kapa, was an exhibit that showcased kapa (Hawaiian barkcloth) and related works from the Art in Public Places Collection.

The exhibit featured 14 works by the following kapa practitioners and artists: Pam Barton, Kau‘i Chun, Pualani Lincoln Maielua, Philip Markwart, Juliette May Fraser, Marie McDonald, Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond, Dalani Tanahy, and Viliami Toluta‘u, and celebrated and recognized the perseverance of kapa practitioners and artists who keep the art form alive. Information on kapa manufacture and decoration was also displayed, along with kapa tools from Dalani Tanahy and Philip Markwart.

Click here to view the art work in this exhibition in the Art in Public Places online catalog

Ka Hana Kapa, a film production by the Biographical Research Center, was shown in the gallery during the exhibition. The film documents the history of kapa in Hawai‘i and follows the complex process of Hawaiian kapa making from start to finish. Interviews of kapa practitioners include Ka‘iulani de Silva, Moana Eisele, Eric Enos, Roen Hufford, Dennis Kana‘e Keawe, Marie McDonald, and Dalani Tanahy. The film also features Hālau O Kekuhi, led by kumu hula Nalani Kanaka‘ole. Original kapa garments were made by kapa practitioners for the Hālau specifically for a performance at the opening of the 2011 Merrie Monarch Festival. The film was supported by the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

The SFCA has supported cultural practitioners for decades to help regain the knowledge of Hawaiian kapa making that has been lost over time. Our 1979-1980 annual report describes funding a new program that developed on Maui where Puanani Van Dorpe, a pioneer in the resurgence of kapa making, has rediscovered ancient ways of making kapa. SFCA commissioned her in 2000 to make a work of kapa for the Art in Public Places Collection. Titled Kihei Kapa, the piece is made of wauke and printed with dye made of noni. It is on display in the library of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.

Photo: Paul Kodama