Visualizing A Close-Knit Community

Rachel Breitweser ’03

March 8, 2017

Chloé Selarque ’11, a talented young artist and teaching assistant in the Academy art department is engaging Punahou’s community through an art installation project of four floor-to-ceiling sized looms set up in Cooke Learning Commons Makery, Bishop Learning Commons (BLC), Luke Center and the Omidyar K-1 Neighborhood. Everyone on campus is invited to add a piece to the weavings.

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“Every thread represents each of us coming together in a beautiful way,” said Selarque, Punahou’s artist in residence, as she wove white string around colorful ribbons and thread recently placed there by students. The project’s theme was inspired by Ku‘u Punahou, the name for the campaign for Punahou School, which means “my Punahou” in Hawaiian.

Selarque, who attended Punahou from kindergarten to graduation and lived on campus until the 7th grade, recognizes that everyone’s role at Punahou matters. “We all need each other equally,” she said. Participating in the weaving serves as a moment to reflect on that role.

Located at each loom are boxes of materials to choose from including ribbon and fabric. Selarque has designated colored yarns to represent different Chapel themes, such as humility and respect, and students have braided the colors to create their own meanings from the combination of values.

The kindergartners, noting the large size, encouraged each other to fill the loom. “Each one of us can do our part,” Selarque recalled them saying. Visiting musician John Farrell created a song about weaving for the students, which they sang while working on the loom. Meanwhile, in BLC’s makery, students wrote messages into the weaving through morse code created by beads. “It can be a solitary and personal experience or very collaborative,” she explained.

Through the simple art of weaving, Chloe’s goal has been to create a safe mindful space to sit next to a friend or make a new one. “It’s more than weaving,” said Selarque. “It’s thinking about what you believe in, what you think of yourself and where you fit in. It’s a celebration of diversity and how well it can come together.”

The completed tapestries will be hung near the entrance to the Chapel at a later date.

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