Nanea Lum is a Native Hawaiian artist based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. She is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in the Masters of Fine Arts program of the Department of Art and Art History. Her areas of specialization include Hawaiian traditional cultural practice and the decolonization of contemporary art by applying methods of place-based learning and Indigenous knowledge. Lum works together with community organizations in Hawai’i producing projects and building networks connecting pathways of Native Hawaiian learning with ‘āina.
Lum’s art practice ranges from kapa (Hawaiian wauke beaten bark fiber materials) to large scale paintings, printmaking, and time-based media. She produces her kapa from plant material that she has personally harvested and processed. Tapping into the process of making kapa is pivotal to reading and understanding its coded language. She paints from lived experience and creates worlds in between form and transformation.
Many of our streams today, especially on O‘ahu, are altered by channelization, diversion, damming, and dumping, resulting in restricted flows, elevated temperatures, and an abundance of introduced alien species. The project creates a collective memory with the public, free-flowing water, and an experience of joy when in play with the video projection and wai.”
– Nanea Lum (Native Hawaiian)
Lum’s LIFT Project, Nu’uanu Streaming, is a public art project that will consist of a large-scale video projected onto the blacktop of one full block of Nuʻuanu Avenue in Urban Honolulu. The video will depict the flowing water of Nuʻuanu stream, and the ritual of burying canvases under rocks in the streambed. The project speaks directly to the issue of water diversion in Hawaiʻi’s post-contact society and asks the people of Honolulu to consider the deep history of sharing water in pre-contact Hawai’i. Lum will also share the work in a concurrent exhibition that will consist of a series of kapa pieces printed with imagery from the Nu’uanu Streaming project together with canvases that were created in the stream.