“Plantation Life on Hawai‘i Island” exhibit opens May 15

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Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The public is invited to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo North Hawai‘i Education and Research Center’s Heritage Center exhibit opening of “Plantation Life on Hawai‘i Island” on Tuesday, May 15 at 3 p.m. The exhibit features the photographs of John and Anne Bowen that were taken in the 1970s.

John and Anne Bowen came to Hawai‘i in 1965 when John was hired as an agriculturalist for C. Brewer and Company. Anne then decided to get a degree in anthropology at what was then called Hilo College (now University of Hawai‘i at Hilo). Both the Bowens realized that the unique lifestyle in plantation villages was fading when Kohala Sugar Plantation closed in 1975 and other sugar businesses soon followed.

The Bowens received a Hawai‘i Bicentennial Celebration grant to document plantation life with John doing the majority of the photography and Anne conducting oral histories of plantation personnel and their families. Although these images and stories appeared in some exhibits and newspaper articles in the 1970s, they have not been displayed to the public since.

“The Bowens recorded a wonderful slice of plantation culture through images of ethnic and religious festivals, ILWU rallies, town and county fairs, ‘small kid time,’ and poignant depictions of the loss of a multigenerational lifestyle as plantations closed,” commented Heritage Center Director Momi Naughton.

The exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on select advertised Saturdays until the end of January 2013. There is no admission charge.

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