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Decolonial Postcard

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Suzanne Kekoa

Pele, to me, is a very intriguing Goddess; she is imperfect and powerful. For my presentation, I will create my version of Pele to express how tourism impacts Hawaiians, specifically Hawaiian women; pictures are truly worth a thousand words. Art can be a powerful tool to inspire change.
In Huanani Kay-Trasks's book From a Native Daughter, she compares tourism to prostitution. The land is the sex worker, and Big Corporations such as Castle and Cook are the pimps. While the land is being commodified, Hawaiian women are being murdered and missing at disproportionately high rates.
In Dr. Arvin's Possessing Polynesians, she justifies the continued commodification of Hawaii and its people. They are justified in abusing land and people by positioning Hawaiians closer to whiteness.
Oceania Women are heavily sexualized in the mainstream media. They are depicted as willing and wanting sexual hula girls. They are rapeable bodies for the male gaze. When male tourists come to Hawaii, they expect Hawaiian women to perform.
Hawaiian society was a matriarchal society pre-colonialization, women were held in high esteem, but the abuse of women in today's society is appalling. Through Pele's image, Hawaiian women can gain the strength to change.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Visual Arts
Format: In Person
Presentation #D95
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Humanities
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Maile Arvin