The Decolonize University of Hawaiʻi Newspaper was designed by Thad Higa in collaboration with Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt & C.F.T.
In Summer 2020, a group of students in the UH Art Department wrote a letter to faculty . The letter received a prelimanry response but no official response from the department. On Indigenous People’s Day 2021, the three collaborators came together to create a print version of the letter as a newspaper which put the conversation into context with contemporary artists & scholars confronting institutional racism and the decolonization/indigenization of knowledge production.
We compiled quotes as an act of learning and researching ourselves, and to pay respects to just a few of the many thinkers, activists, and artists working to decolonize knowledge. These are access points to a much deeper understanding. We wanted to give context to the letter written to UH Art faculty; to show that these grievances did not just come out of the blue, but are in fact part of a much larger struggle against the types of white, euro-centric education that eclipses and others all non-white knowledge. There is plenty of precedent for this indignation.
The middle spread is meant to raise more questions than give answers. One of the first steps to decolonizing knowledge is to simply question pedagogy. This is not an act of destruction; this is creation. Creating spaces that can facilitate other knowledge and diversity of thought, creating new meanings through thoughtful deconstruction.
We want to be clear, as we mention several times throughout the document, that this work was not made with malicious intent or to slap the Art Department in the face. We created this while considering the questions: how do we encourage the Art Department (a seemingly immovable object) to work openly and earnestly towards positive change? How do we reach students through the constant stream of injustices reality throws at us every day? How do we create a physical space that people can commune over and take action? Print was the answer.
Mahalo nui to Kaliko Aiu, Ihilani Lasconia, Layla Kilolu, Phoenix Tran, and others for sharing their images of the newspaper and poster in action on UH Campus and around Honolulu.