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Inundation refers to both the watery disasters of climate change and the overwhelming emotions they evoke. This exhibition, curated by Jaimey Hamilton Faris, Associate Professor at the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, features work by Mary Babcock, Kaili Chun, DAKOgamay, James Jack, Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner, Joy Lehuanani Enomoto, Charles Lim, and Angela Tiatia. Based in the Pacific, these artists experience the climate emergency as an extension of long-term colonial, extractive and developmental forces that have made their communities especially vulnerable. With communities forcibly displaced by sea-level rise and storms, islands bombed, coral reefs mined, and local and indigenous environmental knowledge lost, resiliency seems difficult to imagine. And yet, communities throughout the Pacific are rising. The show is on view from January 19 – February 28, 2020 at The Art Gallery at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Professor Hamilton Faris writes, “The aesthetics of water is a dominant feature in the art of Inundation. The experience of being surrounded by water, the experience of wading in muliwai and lo‘i, of being moved by ocean currents, shifted in its tides—and thriving—can compel viewers to reimagine water and the climate. In contrast to the pervasive imagery of climate change as watery disaster, keeping viewers in a state of overwhelm, the artists in Inundation represent water as a generative force and fundamental to survival. Ultimately, the imagery reminds us that water needs to be respected, protected, and allowed to pursue its continual movement. . . . If the climate can change, why can’t we?”

Artists in the show address different climate justice situations in the Republic of the Marshall Islands; Hawaii; the Kingdom of Tonga; Tuvalu; the Philippines; Singapore; Okinawa; and more. The exhibition consists of multi-media videos, installations, and community performance projects, many of which have been conceived for this exhibition. As the curator writes, the exhibition “create[s] a space to process raw emotions, inspire collective imagination, and generate capacity for creative, actionable, and communal responses to our watery climate.”

Join curator Jaimey Hamilton Faris and guests for discussions on climate change and climate justice. Special programming for the show around Honolulu includes the HighWaterLine community art project, conceived by artist Eve Mosher, initiated by Christina Gerhardt and co-organized with Adele Balderston. Hamilton Faris has created a website about the exhibition with more information: www.inundation.org. Further events to be announced.

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