Tuesday, March 2, 2010

On display: Banks Florilegium; Nuclear Diaspora; et al.

Currently on view in the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections are various pieces of two- and three-dimensional art, which are in a sense a visual representation of the breadth and depth of our library holdings. In our main entry hall, several prints from the Banks Florilegium are on display. These prints were made circa 1980, using plates that were engraved between 1772 and 1784, under the direction of Sir Joseph Banks, who sailed on Captain james Cook's first voyage around the world (1768-1771). It was Banks (along with Dr. Daniel Carl Solander) who collected the plants depicted in the prints. 

The Pacific Collection holds a complete set of the Banks Florilegium, as well as a second set of the prints that deal specifically with the Society Islands (the items currently on display draw from this second set, which was acquired by the library in 2009). To view the Voyager record for these prints, click here. For more on the history of the Florilegium prints themselves, click here. (UH-Manoa students, staff and faculty can also view a streaming video that documents the creation of the prints by clicking here; a valid UH ID is required.)

Also in our reading room is a display of photographs taken by Dr. Robert Kiste and Dr. Leonard Mason. The photos are part of a much larger collection of images and research materials donated to the Pacific Collection by Dr. Kiste in 2005. Dr. Kiste's collection documents several decades in the lives of the people of Bikini and Enewetak after their relocation during the U.S. nuclear testing era. The Pacific Collection is currently in the process of digitizing all the photos (more than 800 in total), and will be making them available via the Internet later this spring.

Other art and artifacts currently on display include a series of photographic collages by UH-M Library Map Technician Ross Togashi; ink and watercolor paintings by Palauan artist Rechucher Charlie Gibbons; model canoes from throughout the Pacific; Palauan storyboards; a Marquesan ceremonial war club; a modern Hawaiian quilt (commissioned from Big Island quilter and librarian/archivist Helen Wong Smith); and carvings from the Sepik Region of Papua New Guinea. For more information on all of these items, click here.

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