Ahilapalapa Rands: Across the Sea

2 MARCH – 3 JUNE 2024

Ahilapalapa Rands draws on her Kānaka Maoli (Hawaiian) whakapapa to explore the connections with Hawai‘i across the expanse of the ocean.

Known for her collaborative work with art collectives like D.A.N.C.E. art club, Across the Sea is Ahilapalapa Rands’ first solo exhibition. Rands presents two bodies of work that consider how relations, attachments and solidarities are maintained across the sea.

Lift Off is a three-channel installation that was first commissioned by the IMA Brisbane in 2018. It responds to the Indigenous protection of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawai‘i and a sacred site to many Kānaka Maoli. The proposed construction of giant telescope on the site has prompted occupation and protest over many years.

Across the Sea is made up of four textile banners with each banner featuring what Rands calls ‘canoe plants’; plants brought to Hawai‘i by the earliest voyagers. Lending its name to this exhibition, Across the Sea was also created specifically for our Pātaka show.

Both bodies of work consider and highlight the experiences of diaspora Kānaka Maoli in Aotearoa. As the colonial administration manages and limits access to Hawai’i, both works consider how a Hawaiian diaspora experiences and navigates the ongoing pull towards their ancestral homelands across the distance of the ocean.

Ahilapalapa Rands (Kānaka Maoli/Indigenous Hawaiian, iTaukei/Indigenous Fijian, Pākehā/ Settler European) is an independent curator, writer and artist.

She holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Auckland University of Technology and a Diploma in Te Reo Māori from Te Wananga o Raukawa in Ōtaki, Aotearoa. Rands is a founding member of New Zealand based art collective D.A.N.C.E. art club alongside Vaimaila Urale, Tuafale Tanoa’i aka Linda T, and Chris Fitzgerald and London based In*ter*is*land Collective alongside Lyall Hakaraia, Jo Walsh and Jessica Palalagi.

Maude & Miller Gallery
Image: Ahilapalapa Rands, Lift Off, detail, 2018. Courtesy of the artist

Toi Kōrero: Artist Talk - 11 May 11am