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"A THIRST FOR SALTWATER" by Lehuauakea Fernandez

  • Fuller Rosen Gallery 2505 SE 11th Ave Suite 106 Portland, OR 97202 (map)

Lehuauakea Fernandez
May 25 - July 12, 2019
Opening reception Saturday, May 25th from 6-9 PM

Orange is the color of change, 2018, collage

Fuller Rosen Gallery is proud to present A Thirst for Saltwater, a solo exhibition of new work by Lehuauakea Fernandez. Opening reception Saturday May 25, 2019 from 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM.

Informed by Lehuauakea Fernandez’s own background as a contemporary mixed-Native Hawaiian artist in the Pacific Northwest, A Thirst For Saltwater seeks to complicate the relationships inherently created through consumption, asking if what we easily devour is devouring us instead.

A Thirst for Saltwater reflects on Lehuauakea’s experiences during a recent artist residency and month-long backpacking trip with Signal Fire. Utilizing public lands to advocate for equitable access and protection of wild and open places, the southwest immersion residency granted artists access to occupied Indigenous lands in what is now widely considered to be the Four Corners of the American Southwest. Along with studying the Ancestral Puebloan empire on a series of interconnected site visits, residents engaged with contemporary Southwest artists, activists, and researchers.

Through organic sculpture and repetitive craft-based processes, Lehuauakea meditates on the region’s complex history of territorial dispute and exploitation. A Thirst for Saltwater draws on the tension between the fight to preserve traditional Indigenous land-based practices in the face of ongoing ecological destruction and extractive interests. Lehuauakea questions the roles that both gratitude and greed have played in these environmental narratives.

As we face ongoing global environmental decline and increasing threats to the preservation of marginalized place-based cultures, it is critical for Indigenous knowledge systems to adapt to these ecological changes if they are to be preserved at all. To this end, I believe my work can be explained by asking two questions:

1. What have we learned from our lands and waters in the past, and chosen to forget?

2. Are we willing to remember?

Lehuauakea Fernandez is a mixed Native Hawaiian interdisciplinary artist from Hilo, HI currently living and working in Portland, OR. They received their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting, with a minor in Art + Ecology from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Through a range of craft-based media, their art serves as a means of exploring cultural and biological ecologies, mixed-Indigenous identity, and what it means to live within the context of contemporary environmental degradation. Lehuauakea has participated in several solo and group shows throughout the Pacific Northwest, most recently Yəhaw̓ at King Street Station in Seattle, WA and A Gift, A Breath at Alice Gallery in Seattle, WA.

Fuller Rosen Gallery was founded in 2018 by artists EM Fuller and BriAnna Rosen as a
collaborative curatorial project. The gallery exhibits regional and national artists who address
urgent, contemporary issues.

Pre-order Lehuauakea’s new book A Thirst for Saltwater here.

Fuller Rosen Gallery

Thursday-Sunday 10AM-5PM & by appointment

Earlier Event: May 17
May Market
Later Event: June 4
"something nameless"