Episode 39: Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt

(un)making

Episode 39: Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt

By Weston Teruya April 12, 2019

Weston Teruya welcomes artists, arts administrators, and cultural workers of color to get real about their lives, practices, and careers. Each episode is an in-depth look into how art gets made, but more importantly how these folks are seeing to the system of art’s (UN)making.


In this episode, I talk with Honolulu-based artist, activist, and cultural organizer Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt. Rebecca’s winding path to her current practice reflects the complex layers of intercultural analysis and research she brings to her engagements with people and materials: growing up in Chicago’s Jewish community, her study of languages and photography, creative entrepreneurship, working as an educator facilitating Las Fotos Project with youth in Tijuana, and seeking out Hawaiʻi’s Filipino community to take part in Ilokano language and cultural reclamation within the diaspora. In one of her most recent projects, Nabanglo a lamisaan, she created a tasting table of sukang ilocos, sugar cane vinegar, to enable conversations about labor history, cultural practice, and imperialism. The project emerged from a collaborative exploration with botanists at the University of Hawaiʻi--where she attempted to make her own vinegar from local sugar cane--as well as research into anti-colonial resistance in the Philippines, such as the Basi Revolt. Over the course of our conversation, we talk about the trajectory of her practice and how she approaches Ilocano cultural recovery work while on the 'āina, Native Hawaiian lands.

Rebecca Maria Goldschmidt is an artist, activist, feminist, and diasporic person engaging in place-based art-making and learning. Her current work reflects on studies and reclamation of the Ilokano language and her attempts to reconstruct connections with the land and cosmology of her ancestors which has been lost through displacement, colonization, and miseducation. Utilizing photographs, natural materials, handwritten words, as well as found images, she combines disparate information from various sites, sources, and time periods to explore how relationships to land/daga/'āina manifest in diasporic communities. Crossing into the realm of social practice, she often works in collaboration to facilitate the exchange of knowledge intergenerationally and interculturally. She is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Honolulu.

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