Although Joyce Kozloff was largely based in New York, her art and activism were shaped by her travels. By the 1990’s she was fascinated with maps and they became the foundation of her paintings, sculptures, frescoes and collages. Through cartographic structures she examines issues of power, Western expansion, nationhood, culture and global politics – themes which echo the feminist movement she belonged to.
Maui: Sugar Plantations is made up of three overlapping maps which combine patterns, texts, codes, colours and ideas. The top map is called ‘Spanish camp A’, and shows designated areas of sugarcane production using black outlines and shapes. It visualises human control over nature, the displacement of workers and unjust labour practices – the barracks on the right were living quarters for the plantation workers. Underneath is a nautical map and a topographical map which highlight the location and formation of the Hawaiian island of Maui. Kozloff remaps the world with hopes of changing attitudes and actions towards humanity and the earth.