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Wa Kuk Wa Jimor / Canoe of One Community

Contemporary Art Gallery
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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be closed Monday, May 13, to prepare for the visit of Antiques Roadshow. We will return to normal hours of operation Wednesday, May 15.
Images of a kōrkōr, which was built at Crystal Bridges and featured in the program Wa Kuk Wa Jimor/Canoe of One Community in 2022. All photos Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Canoe-building is a sacred tradition in Marshallese culture. When a canoe is carved, the whole community participates. The canoe serves the entire village, yet the carving is a special skill granted to a specific family that maintains the tradition.

In 2021, Marshall Islander and master boat-builder Liton Beasa and his team of apprentices constructed a kōrkōr, a traditional Marshallese wooden canoe used to navigate the lagoons and waters of the Marshall Islands, on-site at Crystal Bridges. Whether in search of food or to make war, navigating the waters has been essential to the Marshallese people’s survival.

The Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese (ACOM) continue to navigate metaphorical waters in the United States.

Wa Kuk Wa Jimor/Canoe of One Community is a part of the  Arts and Social Impact Accelerator Program (ASAP) at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. ASAP partners with local artists and communities to create arts-based solutions to address social issues in Northwest Arkansas.