Stephanie Syjuco, “Diversity Pictures (Multiethnic Group of People Smiling),” 2020, Digitally-printed adhesive vinyl panels on wall

exhibition icon  EXHIBITION

January 17 – February 28, 2021
Commons Gallery, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), Art Building

Programs: In-person events are cancelled for Spring 2021 due to COVID-19.

January 28 12:00-1:15 pm: Talk between Stephanie Syjuco and Maika Pollack, curator of Out of the Camera: Beyond Photography (Zoom link, Meeting ID: 641 863 5286; Passcode: Manoa2021). View a video of the talk.

The Commons Gallery, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), is pleased to present a new work by Stephanie Syjuco in a solo presentation as part of the year-long exhibition series Out of the Camera: Beyond Photography.

Stephanie Syjuco works in photography, sculpture, and installation to explore capitalism, power, and the mediated image. Recently, she has focused on how photography and image-based processes are implicated in the construction of racialized, exclusionary narratives of history and citizenship. The series Diversity Pictures (Multiethnic Group of People Smiling), 2020, presented here for the first time, asks how the promise of a multicultural and ethnically diverse society is envisioned and packaged. By combing through stock photography databases via a search for the term diversity, Syjuco presents an array of odd, humorous, and even baffling descriptions sourced verbatim from their image captions.

What is left out are the images themselves, however, leaving the viewers to conjure their own vision of how diversity is often pictured. Color blocks of brownish-beiges, grays, and muddied colors create backdrops for the captions, and are the color-average of each individual image. The images under scrutiny are constructed with a societal togetherness that borders on wishful thinking and captioned by commercial photographers betraying a white male bias. Syjuco’s presentation implicates the viewers into asking “what’s missing from these pictures?”

Out of the Camera: Beyond Photography is a year-long series of solo exhibitions in the Art Building Commons Gallery by artists who work primarily as photographers but whose practices extend well beyond traditional definitions of the medium. The artists, including Lucas Blalock, Hadi Fallahpisheh, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, and Stephanie Syjuco, have been asked to consider what in their work is explicitly un-photographic for this series. The artists will be in residence at the Department of Art & Art History, UHM, to produce their artworks, present public gallery walk-throughs and talks, and to interact with students and visitors. At the culmination of the series of exhibitions, a publication will be produced. The Out of the Camera series is made possible by a generous grant from the Laila Twigg-Smith Art Fund.

Artist Bio

Stephanie Syjuco was born in the Philippines, and received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and MFA from Stanford University. Recent exhibitions include Being: New Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Public Knowledge at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of a 2020 Tiffany Foundation Award, a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship Award, and a 2009 Joan Mitchell Award. For 2019/2020 she was a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow at the National Museum of American History. She lives and works in Oakland, California.

Out of the Camera: Beyond Photography is curated by Maika Pollack for Hawai‘i. Maika Pollack is director and chief curator, John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries and assistant professor of curatorial studies and art history, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Art + Art History and College of Arts + Humanities; Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i and by the National Endowment for the Arts; supported by the Laila Twigg-Smith Art Fund; Halekulani Hotel– Hospitality Sponsor for the Arts at UH Mānoa; and anonymous donors.

Gallery hours & admission:

Mon. – Thurs. 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Sun. 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Closed Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays.

Free admission.

Parking fees may apply during weekdays. Parking is free on Sundays


For more information please contact Sharon Tasaka at 808.956.8364 and gallery@hawaii.edu