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Contact: Amy Kapuanani Antonio-Claussen, (503) 869-6003
Contact: Mary Rose, Friends of Fort Vancouver, (360) 816-6216
Contact: Theresa Langford, Curator, (360) 816-6252A unique exhibition featuring Portland artist Amy Kapuanani Antonio-Claussen will open at the Visitor Center at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on July 7, 2018, and will be on view until January 2019. Na Kanaka: A Contemporary Look at Hawaiians in the Fur Trade will feature 13 works by Antonio-Claussen, including her series of Na Kanaka Travel Posters, found objects, mixed media and dioramas in miniature. On July 7, 2018, at 2 pm, Amy Kapuanani Antonio-Claussen will discuss her work in a free public talk at the Visitor Center.
Born in 1973 in Honolulu, Hawai'i, Amy Kapuanani was born into a renaissance of Hawaiian culture, which was finding its own artistic voice. Raised in the Islands, she was blessed to grow up surrounded by Hawaiian music, art and nature. Her mother was of Swedish Irish descent and her father of Filipino/Pacific Islander descent. By the early 1980s, economics and family responsibility pulled her into a different world and she moved to Michigan with her mother, sister and stepfather. She graduated college with a BA in English an a minor in painting and moved soon after to Portland, Oregon, where she has lived for the past 20 years. Reconnecting with her homeland of Hawai'i, she soon found an extended 'ohana (family) in the hula halau (school) of Kaleinani o ke Kukui. She became a designer and cultural resource for the non-profit Ke Kukui Foundation and has worked for years with Fort Vancouver National Historic Site to cultivate a relationship between the Hawaiian community and the national park, which has a long history of Hawaiian involvement.
Na Kanaka: A Contemporary Look at Hawaiians in the Fur Trade focuses on the little known stories of a handful of the men and women who worked the Pacific Northwest fur trade from 1811 to the 1860s. "Kanaka" is the Hawaiian word for "person" and was what the Island men were called by their Caucasian employers and peers. While hundreds of Hawaiians lived in and around Fort Vancouver as laborers and servants, not much is found in the archeological record of their existence. Records of sales at the company store, letters of officers and visitors, and burial records at the nearby Catholic cemetery all list Anglicized names of na kanaka. The exhibit highlights the stories of teacher "Kanaka" William Kaulehelehe and his wife, Mary Ka'ai, the sailing vessel Tonquin, which carried 24 Hawaiians to the mainland, Hawaiian carpenters at Fort Nisqually, and of Naukane, or old John Coxe, the swineherd who lived and worked for almost 40 years at Fort Vancouver.
What: Na Kanaka: A Contemporary Look at Hawaiians in the Fur Trade, a new exhibit by Amy Kapuanani Antonio-Claussen
When: The exhibit will be on view from July 7, 2018 to January 2019. On July 7, 2018, at 2 pm, Amy Kapuanani Antonio-Claussen will discuss her work in a free public talk at the Visitor Center. Learn more about Visitor Center hours of operation here.
Where: The Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E Evergreen Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98661
Learn more about the history of Hawaiians at Fort Vancouver here.