Part of the 2021 Joyful Return exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Regrow Garden was designed to connect people through plants and as an offering to the many cultural objects and presences within the museum. It was a way to experiment in bringing native plants into the museum that likely lived in the area before the military occupation of Hawai‘i, as well as a way to connect with my ancestral materials of bamboo and coconut. The process of connecting with people, materials, and eventually watching the garden develop and grow, has been unique and challenging. I am grateful to the HoMA team for working with me on this project that seemed to grow larger by the minute!
“An integral part of the museum-wide exhibition Joyful Return, Regrow transforms Kīna‘u Courtyard into an interactive hanging garden. Artist Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt’s community greenspace features plants with special significance to Hawai‘i and the cultures represented in the surrounding galleries. For this site-specific installation, she collaborated with conservation biologist, Danya Weber and lomilomi/la‘au lapa‘au practitioner Sydney Kapuahinano Coelho to select plants known for their medicinal properties. Constructed of rope and bamboo trellises, the garden incorporates coconut and bamboo harvested by cultural practitioner Kahekili LaBatte, and planters crafted by our visitors. Of her practice, the artist states: ‘This project is inspired by my family’s trellised vegetable gardens the the Ilokano concept of nasalimetmet – frugality, simple living, or using what’s available. The cultuvation of plants brings us together in collective communal grown and learning. By collaborating with local land stewards, cultural practitioners, and young people continuing the traditions of their ancestors, we hope to inspire others to reconnect to the practices of their diverse histories by honoring the earth in their own ways.”
In alignment with the idea of nasalimetmet, we resuscitated planters that were in storage in the museum, reused material from past projects or donations we had on hand, utilized abundant invasive bamboo, and focused on using the majority of the budget to pay practitioners for their expertise and support. Plant partners include Hui Ku Maoli Ola Native Hawaiian Plant Nursery, The Lyon Arboretum, Kay Lynch of The Hawaiian Fern Project, Hawaiian Earth Products, Geobunga. Mahalo nui and Agyamankami to the many community members who cleaned pots, prepared materials, planted and cared for the garden, and donated clippings, seeds, and plant babies for this project.
Workshops included making hanging planters, coconut leaf weaving, drawing with natural materials, and rock-paintings inspired by native pollinators.
Regrow will be up until January 2022 – feel free to visit, the courtyards are FREE and open to the public at any time, and museum entrance is $10 for Kama‘aina. Mahalo to KHON 2 News for covering this exhibition and the others in the Museum.