Aloha From Hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii, 2013, oil and mirrors on card on rotating mirrored turntable, 2x (20x60)cm (double sided)
The 1953 film From Here to Eternity, which was set in Hawaii around the time of the Pearl Harbour attacks, created a Hawaiian shirt boom. These Aloha shirts (as they are properly called) were first created, from kimono fabric, in the 1930s by a Chinese Hawaiian. Every GI or Marine stationed in Hawaii would pick one up as a souvenir. They were a symbol of good times, an outfit for holiday and leisurewear, and a little bit of exotica to take home. The original shirts were simple floral patterns in muted colours but contemporary shirts tend to be brighter and their designs more graphic and figurative.

The wearing of a Hawaiian shirt and its degree of luridness signifies very particular and nuanced character traits. Aloha from Hawaii features paintings of four shirts from four films reflecting characters that we may want to emulate or distance ourselves from. From the uber cool of Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity (1953) to the sadistic lasciviousness of Robert De Niro in Cape Fear (1991), the post-modern devil-may-care trashiness of Christian Slater in True Romance (1993) and onto a skater chic incarnation on the back of slacker Rory Culkin in Electrick Children (2012). Aloha from Hawaii reflects and doubles these shirts and their exotic images on a mini mirrored merry-go-round.

The work was shown at the National Trust's Sutton House in the exhibition Wintergarden. It was situated in the information room (above), which features a mural made when the house was squatted in the 1980s and then in the exhibition space (below)

Aloha From Hawaii from Cathy Lomax on Vimeo.

Aloha From Hawaii at Wintergarden exhibition


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