“Being a student in the art department was rewarding, and I felt it was important to give back,” says Lori Admiral, who earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in art history at UH Mānoa. “When my husband Mark and I learned that funding for a teaching residency was a priority for the Department of Art and Art History, it was easy to offer support.”
The Admiral Residency in Contemporary Pacific Art will bring two contemporary artists per year to the Mānoa campus, one who lives and works in Hawai‘i, and one from elsewhere in the Pacific region. The fund will cover expenses for travel and lodging, a modest honorarium, a studio space, and access to department space and facilities for art making during each three-week residency.
The Admirals hope exposure to visiting artists will open students’ eyes to other cultures and perspectives. “Even visiting artists from Hawai‘i create learning opportunities,” says Mark Admiral. “Artists with strong points of view will hopefully broaden horizons and challenge students to think and create differently.”
Mark Admiral hopes Hawai‘i’s students will not be the only beneficiaries. “Visiting Hawai‘i and experiencing the breadth of our art community would be a benefit to visiting artists,” he says. “They will be exposed to outstanding faculty and students, which may influence their perspectives as much as they influence the students. The exposure to cultural diversity in Hawai‘i is also a benefit.”
Collaboration and representation
Kate Lingley, Art and Art History Department Chair, says, “Visiting artists are an important part of any studio art program, but particularly ours, given our geographic isolation. We can’t expect students to take a weekend in New York or Los Angeles to see what’s going on in the art world. Our studio art faculty is a world-class group of artists, but each has their own particular practice, and of course they can’t represent the full spectrum of contemporary art in the world.”
Hawai‘i’s Tiare Ribeaux was the artist in residence for Fall 2021. Ribeaux says, "The Admiral Residency allowed me to deeply reconnect to my roots here in Honolulu as well as the local Hawaiian arts community, through creating new video work based in Mānoa, and co-facilitating a series of workshops called Kō Kākou Manawa (Our Time) with artist Nanea Lum, a UH Mānoa MFA alumna. These workshops brought together creatives of kānaka maoli and mixed heritage to co-vision multimedia art projects utilizing and uplifting heritage, stories, and personal-cultural resilience."
“The residency was a great success,” says Lingley. “Tiare used the time and resources of the residency to film footage for a video artwork, on display now as part of Ulu Kupu, a multi-site exhibition at Aupuni Space and the Hawaii State Art Museum.” The Ulu Kupu exhibition is part of a series of exhibitions around town timed to coincide with the Hawai‘i Triennial, a major international contemporary art exhibition now on view at multiple locations around Honolulu.
Ribeaux is thankful for the opportunity. “It was a deeply nourishing and fruitful experience to create these works, and it has been an overwhelmingly joyful and re-affirming experience to see them come alive and be shared with the greater public through the exhibitions in Honolulu. I'm excited for the work to continue to expand and am deeply grateful for my time during the Admiral Residency, which seeded all this deeply important work.”
The department hoped to welcome Judy Watson of Australia as its Spring 2022 artist, but continuing coronavirus transmission has delayed her participation.
An encouraging gesture in a difficult time
Lingley says the Admirals are ideal partners for this project. Lori, Director of Philanthropy at the Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i and Palmyra, is a former University of Hawai‘i Foundation associate vice president of development who raised funds on behalf of the department. Mark, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, is a senior analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency and professor for the Naval War College and National Intelligence University who loves history, nature and art.
“They really understand our department and how it works. Lori particularly understands the needs of a large studio art department, and she is aware of the cultural politics of the art world. The Admirals are sensitive to our need to expand support for Pacific contemporary art and artists, and their offer was a generous and encouraging gesture in a difficult time,” says Lingley.
“Art is fundamental to everything we do,” Lori Admiral says. “If you need to understand who we are as a culture or understand other cultures, the first and most important thing to understand is their art. Art is how we express ourselves and how our society advances culturally.”