The pineapple is a eulogized fruit that has a long history of being desired and exoticized. Much of the literature around it is derived from the encounter between Western European colonial powers, American agricultural corporations like Castle & Cooke and Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company, and the tropics from the 16th century onward. The Pineapple Girl Series seeks to add to the canon of pineapple imagery by exposing and inventing new narratives from the perspectives of the other’s experiences handed down from past generations. This work demands more understanding of colonially charged environments. That ideas and meanings from times past, be processed and continually questioned. Asking that the land be not just seen but felt as a thread connecting history, time, and place.
3 Seasons does not welcome the viewer. Instead, the viewer experiences the uncomfortable position of waiting and maintaining a space throughout the changing landscape around them. Time passes and the viewer must stand unwavering through the transitions of seasons. There is a gap, a missing fourth season: this absence signifies the laps of memory within American history; the missing moment of reconciliation and retribution.
The second video Departing Tide, the waves move away from the shore instead of towards it. This speaks to the difficulty of returning and remaining home that the native Pacific Islander and Asian diaspora continue to face due to gentrification, industrialization, and tourism. For example, the development of Hawaii’s agricultural and tourist economic model, imposed in large part by foreign interests, has demanded assimilation from Native Hawaiians in order to survive and maintain economic success.
The pineapple is a symbol and statement on the painful history that the United States has with the sovereign land of Hawai’i. It is also a symbol of colonization, foreign versus belonging. Hawai’i is also the birthplace of my father who grew up on a sugar plantation that harvested sugarcane and pineapples. The two-channel video 3 Seasons & Departing Tide speaks to the Asian Pacific Islander experience of navigating assimilation and displacement from home.
The person in the Pineapple Girl Series is isolated and separated as well as integrated as a part of the landscape that are both familiar and foreign simultaneously. They are a reflection of the multicultural background they possess and desire for belonging to place. In facing the tides that leave the shores of home, this series calls for a reckoning with the sense of danger and immediacy that comes with giving oneself over to the land, of being vulnerable to what new futures may come. By reconstructing narratives, a reclaiming of the Pacific Islander identity would allow for opposition against oppressive structures of power to be challenged and a empowered sense of self regained.