Fulbright Scholar coming to UH Hilo to organize a collaborative art project on Hawai‘i’s endangered fauna

Cathryn Shine will head the “Hawaiian Endangered Species Print Project,” bringing together artists, scientists, academics, faculty and students to develop a series of printed artworks.

By Kara Nelson.

Artist stands in front of exhibit, which included photos hanging on the wall of people and plants.
Artist and Fulbright Scholar Cathryn Shine stands in front an exhibit of her photographs. Since 2005, Shine has been researching and developing a photographic project called “Rare and Archival Plants in Medieval and Renaissance Gardens in Contemporary Italy.” Courtesy photo.

A New Zealand artist and professor recently awarded a Fulbright Scholar Award will arrive at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in August to be an artist-in-residence at the UH Hilo art department. Cathryn Shine is coming to Hilo to embark on an artistic endeavor to call international attention to Hawai‘i’s endangered species, a project that will include many key players, including a broad range of people in the UH and Hawai‘i Island communities.

The Fulbright Scholar Award is Shine’s third international research fellowship, the first being a 2005 research fellowship at the University of Newcastle, Australia, and the second being a 2011 UH Hilo inaugural Yoneko and Howard Droste fellowship. During her stay at UH Hilo, she served as a consultant in developing the UH Hilo Print Project.

Shine received her bachelor of fine arts from University of Auckland and in 1980 earned her master of fine arts in first class honors from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland. She has taught at four universities in the course of her career and has been a university lecturer for over 32 years.

She currently serves as associate adjunct professor of fine arts at University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, where she has taught photography, drawing, and printmaking for 28 years. She has taught across three levels, instructing students earning their bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of fine arts with honors, and master of fine arts, and has examined the doctorate of fine arts in art history and master of arts in art history.

As an artist, Shine engages in photography and printmaking. Her research in these fields has contributed to both national and international research efforts. Shine is the current director of the Pacific Rim International Print Exhibition. Shine’s work is currently featured in public art galleries and private collections in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.

Hawaiian Endangered Species Print Project

During her time in Hawai‘i, Shine will undertake the “Hawaiian Endangered Species Print Project,” which, she explains, will include artists, scientists, academics, faculty and students of Hawai’i, using digital laser technology in printed artworks.

In her artist’s statement sent to UH Hilo, Shine writes, “Hawai‘i has an invaluable unique flora and fauna and is home to over 10,000 native species, more than 90% of which are found nowhere else in the world. The endangered species of Hawai’i are extremely important to preserve, as their unique properties are yet to be fully studied or their application in the present world understood. This project will bring international attention the fragility of the Hawaiian environment and its endangered species, revealed through a series of fine art prints.”

Shine says that relief prints will be produced using laser cut plates developed at The Makery in Hilo, and then hand-printed at the UH Hilo art department print studio. Various mediums will be used such as hand drawings, scientific diagrams, photographs, and computer generated drawings, which she says could lead “to the conceptual developments of each artwork being as diverse as those species being featured.”

“Artists and scientists will collaboratively develop the conceptual dynamics of each artwork bringing attention to special characteristics of each species, and revealing the significance of their place in the Hawaiian cycle of life,” Shine explains.

The project will be done in consultation with faculty at the UH Hilo College of Arts and Science in conjunction with indigenous and local communities and artists. The choice of those endangered species will be determined through these consultations.

“Scientists will be pivotal in the choice of those endangered species selected to be revealed in artworks,” Shine elaborates. “Their knowledge and research of the special characteristics and collected data of endangered species will enable artists to react and visually inform their printed artworks.”

Presentations will engage the community directly with the development the project. Shine will be holding an introductory meeting in early August for anyone who wishes to know more about the project and to become involved.

She says UH Hilo’s art department’s excellent faculty research profiles, the printmaking facilities and the collaborative learning atmosphere will have a very positive impact on the project’s outcome.

Learn more about Shine’s photographic project at her website.


About the author of this story: Kara Nelson is a senior at UH Hilo double majoring in English and communication. She is an intern in the Office of the Chancellor and writer for UH Hilo Stories.