February Community Tour

Feat. Kanani Miyamoto

Story by Rachel Hershey
Images by Mandy Yeahpau

This month we launched our 2024 Community Tours Series with an artist talk by Kanani Miyamoto (Native Hawaiian/Japanese), show and tell style!

Originally from Honolulu, Hawai’i, Kanani is an artist, curator, and passionate educator whose works include large-scale murals and mixed-media installations. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Print Media from the Pacific Northwest College of Art and a Bachelor of Arts in Art Practices from Portland State University, and currently serves as the Arts Coordinator at p:ear.

Kanani discussed the ideas and themes behind her work in more depth, many of which are centered around cultural erasure and ending the romanticized myths of Pacific Island people that have damaged the islands and her people. Also important to her work is sharing and celebrating her unique mixed background in our contemporary art world to represent her community and the beauty of intersectional identities. Kanani shared images of her art and the inspiration and symbolism behind each piece. Throughout her work, many visual elements are pulled from her Buddhist beliefs and Hawaiian heritage.

Kanani had a few of her large carved wood blocks on display and demonstrated the hand-printing process of large-scale hand-carved relief blocks. Guests were able to learn about tools, materials, processes, and conceptual ties to Kanani’s immersive installations.

Kanani is also a 2023 NACF LIFT – Early Career Support for Native Artists awardee. Her LIFT Project, Weaving Angels, will be an immersive installation combining relief and screen prints with carved wood blocks, and locally harvested lauhala (leaf) woven into the prints. The prints will feature hula hand gestures of Kānaka Maoli living away from Hawai’i, as a symbol of community, cultural survival, and resistance against assimilation. Furthermore, the project will reclaim the traditional practice of Hawaiian weaving, ulana, and bring it into Kanani’s contemporary art practice. She will share the work through artist talks, panel discussions, and weaving workshops, and will exhibit it in the Pacific Northwest and Hawai’i.

This Community Tour was livestreamed and the full VOD can be watched below.

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