Unprecedented Times, 2021
materials: disposable face masks, glue, gold thread
The past 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic has repeatedly been described as “unprecedented times.” Yet if we look back in our history, this is not the first disease to disproportionately impact native populations. This is not the first time we’ve experienced social isolation or quarantine. Nor is this the first time we’ve had to make sacrifices and difficult choices for the health and safety of our loved ones and communities.
But the point of looking back is not to continue to repeat history, but to learn from it. I ka wā ma mua, i ka wā ma hope.
While COVID-19 continues to be a global issue, the ongoing community spread and high rates of positivity in the islands reminds us that the pandemic is not over and our kuleana to care for each other remains.
Inspired by Hawaiian quilts, this artwork titled “Unprecedented Times” features designs that reference moʻolelo related to lost loved ones, hardship, sacrifice, perseverance, and hope. Each quilt is made up of layers of deconstructed surgical face masks that have been cut up and reassembled to create a piece that inspires comfort and draws connections between our past and the past few years.
This artwork was originally created for the 2021 8×8 Exhibition at the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, where local artists created original artwork inspired by the museum and the theme of “connection”.
To learn more about this exhibition and Shangri La, visit the 8×8 2022 exhibition website here: https://www.shangrilahawaii.org/visit/exhibitions/8x8_shangrila_22/