There is something special to see in lightly traversed gallery 22, currently home to an exhibition of textiles that were given to the museum in the honor of grandmothers. The exhibition, masterfully curated by textile collection manager Sara Oka, chronicles a portion of textile art history, and, more important, addresses the sanctity of familial connections. Those connections are illustrated through quilts, clothing and accessories.
Also included in the gallery is “What Holds Us Together,” a community-based work of art that eloquently captures the spirit of the show. Last fall, a call to the general public was made, asking people to submit an image of their Grandma. Under the direction of Education Assistant (and accomplished artist) Maika’i Tubbs, volunteers compiled the images and transferred them onto plastic tiles. Stitched together, the resulting work of art stands as a tribute to everyone’s beloved matriarch.
Images came in all kinds of forms, from blanched black-and-white scans to vibrant digital snapshots. Often, they were accompanied with anecdotes of remembrance and adoration.
“I was fortunate enough to grow up with all three grandmothers, as I grew up in an intergenerational household that included both my paternal and maternal grandparents…The interplay between these three women always presents a beautiful example of wisdom and love.”—Theresa Christine R. Navarro
“My grandmother’s name is Kathrine Napoleon. She was married to Walter Napoleon and they lived a few blocks from the Honolulu Academy of Arts on Iolani Ave back in the fifties. She was a very active politically; always writing the mayor or governor about issues concerning the Natatorium where she sat on the board for saving the Natatorium.”—Albert Weight
“Doris Hamamoto (Nisei), born a farmer’s daughter, in Waipahu, in the valley below the old Waipahu Sugar Mill, was born on February 5, 1919. She had only up to a 6th grade education, because her dad thought that it was more important for a woman to work, rather than go to school. She opened a barber shop on Cane Street, Wahiawa, and eventually opened a dressmaking shop next to the old Variety Store, Walker Street, Wahiawa… And now, the grandchildren, instilled with the same determination and values handed down from their grandparents, are striving for a better education, a better life for themselves.”—Sidney Hamamoto
If you haven’t seen “In Honor of Grandmother” and “What Holds Us Together,” do it quick. The last day of the exhibition is April 4. For more info, call 532-8700.