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"Billboard I (The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)" 2017

Wall text

Wall text

Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick 
Born 1988, Mōkapu, Hawaiian Kingdom. 
Kānaka ʻŌiwi. Lives and works in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. 
Pronouns: he/him

"Billboard I (The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness)" 2017


vinyl banner and LED sign on support structure, framed reproduction of a historical artwork (Death of Captain Cook, George Carter, 1783, from the collection of Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu). 

Courtesy of the artist, Honolulu. 

Drew Kahu‘āina Broderick’s multimedia artwork challenges the authorship and representation of Hawaiian and Great Ocean history. Taking the medium of a billboard—a banned form of advertising in Hawai‘i—and a neon ‘Vacancy’ sign, Broderick interrogates recurring visual representations of the Hawaiian Islands. 


The billboard depicts a digitally enhanced close-up image of a palm tree on a cliff-face, taken from English painter George Carter’s Death of Captain James Cook (1783). Out of sight from Broderick’s Billboard I is the violence between Kānaka Maoli (Indigenous peoples of Hawai‘i) and Cook’s crew, resulting from the breach of cultural protocols and the attempted kidnapping of Mō‘ī Kalani‘ōpu‘u. Referencing romanticised depictions and the visual language of tourism, Broderick draws a direct link to the ongoing colonial violence that underpins the economy of Hawai‘i, which Banaban, I-Kiribati, African American scholar Teresia Teaiwa has described as ‘militourist’ (militarism enmeshed with tourism).


The subtitle of the work "The sovereignty of the land is perpetuated in righteousness” is a translation of the Hawai‘i State motto: “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘āina i ka pono.” This phrase is taken from the address pronounced by the third king of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, Kameh-ameha ‘Ekolu Kauikeaouli (1825–1854), delivered at the celebration of the end of illegal British occupation, and, in 1843, at the peaceful restoration of Indigenous sovereignty as the independent Hawaiian Kingdom.


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