PalaPala

"Pala" is the Polynesian (Hawai’ian word) for "print" or "stamp". "PalaPala" is this action repeated over and over, a many-layered and multi-patterned process that was used throughout Polynesia in the making and beating of tapa cloth. It was the name of my fledgling clothing company established on Maui, Hawai'i in1979 (later Baba Designs) that incorporated silk-screen and hand-painted designs on t-shirts and dresses. Ancient Hawaiian tapa patterns inspired my thesis exhibition in Art and Ethnography at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa (1982).

PalaPala is also the adaption of the western name "Barbara", into the Hawai’ian language. An old friend once opened an exhibit of my work with a riff on this which is delightfully untranslatable from the Czech.
In 2011 I returned to Hawai'i after many years while working on the Safe Planet Campaign. It was a return, in a spiraling way, to many things, including painting -after a 20 year hiatus. The ocean again filled me up, and a new series based on the whorling oceanic gyres came out of it. These are touring the world with the exhibitions focusing on plastic pollution in the oceans, from Honolulu to New York City, Venezia at the Biennale, Vancouver for the Ocean in Us show, then Kazakhstan, Islamabad, Nairobi, Samoa and Rio de Janiero.

Like the graphic quality of fine prints, the reality of the state of our oceans is a black and white reality. To that end, the paintings have been transferred into a populist form with text on them and distributed as place-mats at cafes and restaurants. T-shirts are to follow, and another circle is complete.

 

Sea Urchin
Sea Urchin pattern
1982
wood block print on cotton fabric
(detail)
Missionary Dress
Missionary Dress
1981
linoleum block print pattern
(sea urchin) on handiwipes, glue
60 x 24 inches
Playstic Gyre
Plastic Gyre II
w/Ben Lear at Full Fathom Five,
Magnan Metz Gallery, Chelsea, NYC
May, 2011
(guitar player: Nicolás Consuegra)

 

 

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