Curated by Jon Santos of Ontopo
NADA New York, Pier 36, 299 South Street
May 5–8, 2022
Ulu Kupu Film Screening: Saturday, May 7, 4–5pm, NADA Presents area at the fair.
Ontopo is pleased to present a body of new work by Native Hawaiian artist Nanea Lum at NADA that turns to the earth as natural pedagogical space and artistic medium. Drawing on methods of mapping, Lum created a series of paintings achieved through ceremonial interaction with the water system of Mānoa. To begin, Lum first makes kapa, a Hawaiian cloth made from local Wauke tree bark. The resulting "earth paintings" document a ritual experience that expresses gratitude for nature's participation in the artwork and emphasizes the connection to ‘āina, or the Native conception of all living forces and features of the natural world that sustain life.
Tiare Ribeaux and Jody Stillwater directed the film Ulu Kupu (2022) that records Lum's esoteric process on the restricted site of Mānoa. The film will be screened at NADA on Saturday, May 7, 4–5pm, followed by a Q&A with Lum.
Taken together, Lum's works emphasize the importance of centering Indigenous forms of knowledge and folding it into contemporary art practice. What does material responsibility coupled with aesthetic pleasure look like? In the wake of environmental catastrophes like climate change and the Red Hill water crisis, in which fuel from a U.S. Navy storage facility contaminated Hawai'i's primary drinking source, themes in Lum's work become ever urgent.
"I have taken the artist studio outside, into my actual communities that I represent," says Lum.
Nanea Lum (b. 1991) is based in Honolulu, Hawai'i, and her booth at NADA constitutes her debut in New York. She earned her MFA from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and is currently the artist in residence at Single Double. She is active coordinating director of GRRIC Contemporary at the Art Building at University of Hawai'i Mānoa. Her work has shown at institutions such as Hawai'i State Art Museum, Mission House Museum, Aupuni Space, and elsewhere.
The booth is curated by Jon Santos (b. 1973), Filipino American artist and founder of Ontopo, a series of artist-led retreats that began in 2015.