Gifts of civilization

Avid, Wellington, 2003

‘Gifts of Civilization’ is the term used by Captain Cook to describe the contact between Europeans and the native peoples his expeditions encountered. Hawai’ian history from the arrival of Captain James Cook with his exchange rates and his sailor’s diseases, to the annexation of Hawaii by US businessmen, provides rich imagery for the vessels in this exhibition. This includes the influence of the Freemasons, the power of the U.S dollar,  the promotion of Hawai’i as a tourist destination, the proliferation of white stretch limos, and photographs celebrating the ‘melting pot’ of races.

This series was inspired during and following a month long residency at the University of Manoa, Hawai’i in 2002. The traditional Hawai’ian bowl, the Poi vessel, used for food and religious ceremony, provided the inspiration for the form.