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ERIC Number: EJ1017025
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0017-8055
"Ka ulana 'ana i ka piko" (In Weaving You Begin at the Center): Perspectives from a Culturally Specific Approach to Art Education
Dewhurst, Marit; Keawe, Lia O'Neill Moanike'Ala Ah-Lan; MacDowell, Marsha; Okada-Carlson, Cherie N. K.; Wong, Annette Ku'Uipolani
Harvard Educational Review, v83 n1 p136-146 Spr 2013
This essay examines the experiences of "lau hala" ("pandanus" leaf plaiting) weavers for the pedagogical philosophies and strategies embedded in this Hawaiian art form in an effort to broaden the ways in which we understand and practice art education in any setting. Drawing on personal experiences as "lau hala" weavers and educators, and from interviews with "kumu ulana" (weaving teachers) and "haumana" (student), the authors highlight the unique shape of learning and teaching within this artistic expressive tradition. In looking closely at the ways in which Hawaiian weaving is described, taught, and experienced, the authors identify specific lessons that redefine conventional views of art, learning, and teaching to move the field of art education toward a more inclusive and expansive future. In Hawaiian culture, specialized knowledge is secret and guarded. Knowledge is not always open or free to whoever is interested in it. It is a source of power rooted in history and with a rich genealogy of the source(s). Just as the act of weaving is an act of being in a culture, learning in "lau hala" weaving is an act of growing in relationship to others. It is a commitment to a relationship between the "kumu" and "haumana." "Kumu" represents the wisdom and teaching practices of those who have taught them, and, when teaching, they invoke their stories of how they were taught and the knowledge about weaving (i.e., techniques, stories, aesthetic standards) that their "kumu" valued. A "haumana" learns the stories, the language, the aesthetic systems, the chants, and the skills to care for the "hala" ("pandanus" or screw pine) trees--all of the customs and knowledge that a woven object represents. To become someone's "haumana" is to become a progeny of that "kumu"--to be deeply connected to each other. If educators in any arts setting work to instill a sense of commitment and shared responsibility among their students, it could encourage learners to approach their work with respect and to view it as a collective effort that connects them to each other and to other artists before and after them. Art making would shift from being an individual activity to one of collective participation in a wider social and cultural network.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hawaii
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A