by Adrienne Pao
This series reveals an interweaving of tourist iconography with local culture and family stories. As a photographer who is part Native-Hawaiian while born and raised in California, I see a unique juxtaposition through my lens.
Click here to read the interview with Adrienne by Laura Kina about the Hawaiian Cover-ups series as featured in the book and traveling exhibition War Baby / Love Child.
Photographic Series - Editions of 10
30” x 36” Chromogenic Prints
2004 – 2008
Lei Stand Protest / Kapua Leihua Kapa (Lei Flower Covering)
When I cover my body with leis at the Honolulu airport, I appreciate the feel and scent of the flowers, while also wondering about the widespread use of the lei around the world to conjure paradise.
Fishskin Blanket Amidst the Mokulua’s / I’a Kapa (Fish Covering)
As I rest on the ground, covered in Hawaiian iconography, I attempt to understand a buried past.
Cloaked by Cockfeathers / Hulu Kapa (Feather Covering)
What may seem protective, comforting, or economically advantageous may also reveal a different story.
Palm Fronds at Coconut Grove / Palama Kapa (Palm Frond Covering)
In some cases, I see a complex culture blanketed underneath simplified icons of tourist consumption.
Beachfront Property at Diamond Head / Lei’ahi Kapa (Brow of Tuna Covering)
This stylization of culture contributes to an illusion that is both comfortable and predictable to the visitor and outsider.
View at Laie Point / He’e Kapa (Squid Covering)
Tutu used to tell us stories of hunting octopus as a child with her bare hands; here I gaze at Laie point, a popular tourist destination, and re-visit that story of my grandmother.
Sugar Plantation Surrounding Birthing Stones / Kopa’a Kapa (Hard Sugar Covering)
At the site of both traditional birthing stones and a sugar plantation, I question and participate in the commoditization of this land.
Seeking Liberty in the Dole Plantation / Hala-kahiki Kapa (Pineapple Covering)
Pineapples suggest a pleasant symbol, but what else happened here?
Coconuts for Sale / Iwi Puniu Kapa (Coconut Shell Covering)
Sometimes I revisit specific imagery found on postcards, but with a twist.
Me and the Pig God / Kamapua’a Kapa (Kamapua’a Covering)
Through photography, the land, and my memories of family stories; I try to connect with this place as much as possible.
Searching for Roots in the International Marketplace/ Pa’i A’a Kapa
My lens is one of outsider/insider, tourist/indigenous person, colonizer/colonized.
I Always Wanted to be a Mermaid / Pupu Kapa (Shell Covering)
This environment reveals as much about fantasy as it does about reality.