Liliuokalani Elementary School 2

by Juliane Eirich

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Artist Statement

 

Hale Kula is the Hawaiian term for schoolhouse. When I saw the first elementary school, I did not recognize the building as a school. I thought it was either a motel, a juvenile prison or a movie setting. I was fascinated by the contrariness of these deserted places that are so lively during the day: the clash between individuality and conformity, the horizontals and formal reduction to bands of color behind grass, accentuated by the darkness of night. After I was told that it was a school, I was surprised—I never saw a school illuminated at night. When I heard why these schools are lit up, I was even more surprised: to prevent vandalism. It seemed an unexpected problem for the paradise that Hawaii is supposed to be. During my four-month stay, I found out more about the current social situation in Hawaii—problems between native Hawaiians and Americans, drugs and crime—due to large gaps between rich and poor. These problems don't get much attention outside of the islands; Hawaii maintains its reputation as a paradise. I felt that these buildings were angling for my attention in a very subtle way so I would find out their story.

 

Juliane Eirich

 

Juliane Eirich was born in Munich, Germany in 1979. She studied at the State Academy of Photographic Design in Munich, then moved to New York and Honolulu to work and pursue her own projects. She spent 18 months of 2007-8 in Seoul, South Korea on a scholarship. She now lives and works in both Munich and New York. Eirich's photographs have been exhibited in the USA, Canada, Syria, Italy, Switzerland and Germany and featured in many publications including: The New York Times Magazine, ZEIT Magazine and European Photography. Her work has been recognized in several competitions; she was a 2008 First Edition Hot Shot, a Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographers Competition winner in 2007 and 2008, and a Voigtlaender New Talent Award winner in 2007.

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