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Bishop Museum exhibit features cordwork created by Hawai'i CC professor

The Hawaiian cordwork done by Taupōuri Tangarō, director of Hawaiian culture and protocols engagement for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, is currently featured in an exhibit at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu called Hulia ʻAno: Inspired Patterns. The museum is the world premier center for Hawaiian and Oceanic material arts and the exhibit features the patterns found in Hawaiian creative works.

Tangarō’s work threads the expansive world of cordage into modern relevance. As a kumu hula of Unukupukupu, he also teaches students, faculty and the greater community the benefits of perceiving the world from multiple perspectives.

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He is one of five artists presenting at the exhibit and the only one whose published biography notes using corage medium for academic success.

“This is a great opportunity to expound further the university’s commitment to indigenize,” he explains. “A unique opportunity to create a discussion on the role of traditional arts as a process for academic success.”


Hulia ʻAno: Inspired Patterns will be on display March 18, 2017 – October 16, 2017.

Patterns, intricate and vibrant, are a trademark of Hawaiian artistic expression, whether stamped onto barkcloth, drawn onto gourds, woven into mats or pricked into skin. In celebration of Hawaiian creative vision, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum presents the upcoming exhibit Hulia ‘Ano: Inspired Patterns, on display in the J. M. Long Gallery from March 18–Oct. 16, 2017.

Drawing from the treasures in Bishop Museum’s ethnology collection and supplemented by its vast natural science collections, Hulia ‘Ano explores Hawaiian aesthetic traditions, spotlighting design motifs and visual similarities in the natural world.

This original exhibit examines the ʻano—or nature—of an object in pattern, shape and form.

In keeping with the aesthetic emphasis of the show, displays are organized on the basis of design motifs, in contrast with the more conventional contexts of function or material. Each exhibit case throughout Hulia ‘Ano is represented by a single Hawaiian word and its many definitions. These words were chosen as visual or conceptual descriptions of the patterns presented in the cases.

The results are wonderful and intriguing groupings of cultural and natural objects which, considered together with the word definitions, can enhance the understanding of patterns and provoke creativity and contemplation.

Read more about the exhibit and the other artists on the Bishop Museum website.

– A version of this story originally appeared in UH Hilo Stories