It was my honor to co-curate with Marcus Boroughs an exhibit presenting the aesthetic beauty of tapa/ngatu weavings with block printed art reflecting iconic imagery of Oceania. It is quickly obvious that these artistic creations take a community to construct. A sense of connection, tradition, and pride fills the LeFevre Gallery at the Newark campus. The exhibit is free and open to the public until May 1, 2018.
“The Art of Ngatu: Tradition, Innovation and Community in Polynesia” comprises original artwork, traditional tapa (beaten bark cloth), photography, film, and ephemera. Exhibition content focuses on artists Dame Robin White (New Zealand) and Ruha Fifita (Tonga), their process and practice in Polynesia. Collaborating with communities of indigenous women, the artists use traditional methods to produce tapa while also incorporating innovation and contemporary narratives related to the history of Polynesian communities.” (From the prospectus.)
On Saturday, April 30th, the AISO – the American Indian studies club at OSUN – group along with other friends and family ventured to the Olentangy Indian Caverns, just north of Columbus. We talked about power and representation; commodification of culture; Indians as tourist attractions and Midwestern kitsch. Wish it had been a bit warmer but it was very thought provoking. The best surprise – the caves themselves were pretty impressive.