Asian American Arts Alliance

Laura Kina Blue Hawai'i Artist Reception

Event Details

Event Description

"You won’t find Elvis or surfboards or funny umbrella-topped cocktails in my dystopic Blue Hawaiʻi." The Chicago-based artist Laura Kina speaks of her latest series of paintings which are featured in this exhibition at NJCU. 

Drawn from her family albums, oral history and community archives, Kina's ghostly oil paintings employ distilled memories to investigate themes of distance, longing, and belonging. The setting of these paintings is her father’s Okinawan sugarcane field plantation community, Piʻihonua, on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi near Hilo. The predominant blue color of the series was inspired by the indigo-dyed kasuri kimonos repurposed by the Issei (first generation) “picture bride” immigrants for canefield work clothes. Blue Hawaiʻi echoes the spirits of Kina's ancestors and shared histories of labor migration.

Laura Kina is Vincent de Paul professor of Art, Media, & Design at DePaul University. She is the coeditor, along with Wei Ming Dariotis, of War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art (University of Washington Press, 2013); cofounder of the DePaul biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies conference; and cofounder and consulting editor of the Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies and reviews editor for the Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas.

Her solo exhibitions include Blue Hawaii (2014),
Sugar (2010), A Many-Splendored Thing (2010), Aloha Dreams (2007), Loving (2006), and Hapa Soap Operas (2003). She has exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center, India Habitat Centre, Nehuru Art Centre, Okinawa Prefectural Art Museum, the Rose Art Museum, the Spertus Museum, the University of Memphis, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

To view the online catalog, visit http://www.laurakina.com/BlueHawaii-Catalog.pdf

Image: Laura Kina, Canefield Workers, 2013, oil on canvas, 30 x 45 inches.

The Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery
Hepburn Hall room 323
New Jersey City University
2039 Kennedy Blvd.
Jersey City, NJ 07305
Tel: 201-200-3246

For further information, email gallery director Midori Yoshimoto at myoshimoto@njcu.edu

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