LACMA: Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali‘i

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I have been waiting for the chance to visit LACMA’s temporary exhibition, “Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali‘i,” currently housed in the Resnick Pavilion, after recently hearing of the exhibition’s awesome opening ceremony.

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The Royal Hawaiian Featherwork exhibition at LACMA features garment pieces created between the late 18th century and ending just before the 20th century, along with an informative narrative of the stories behind each featherwork piece.

Visitors are introduced to the exhibit with a short narrative of how native Hawaiian birds have, throughout centuries, provided vibrantly colorful feathers for the Hawaiian people to use in the art form known as nā hulu ali‘i, which translates to “royal feathers.” The Hawaiian people created its culture’s ornamental garments such as helmets, leis and capes from these royal feathers, to signifying the divinity and power of chiefs who wore these garments as status symbols and for spiritual protection.

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I enjoyed reading a short narrative about the portrait sessions of Kamehameha III and Nāhi’ena’ena, his sister who insisted that the English artist depict her wearing the same featherwork cloaks as her brother for she, too, wanted to be presented as a high-status royal at a time when only the male Hawaiian royals wore such garments.

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Visitors are also informed that these featherwork pieces were later used as objects of diplomacy, by way of gifts to outsiders as a way to ensure alliances, agreements, etc.

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Come check out this magnificent exhibition soon as it will close near summer’s end on August 7, 2016.


Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Na Hulu Ali‘i
May 22, 2016–August 7, 2016
LACMA: Resnick Pavilion
5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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