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tourist art can also serve as the means to preserve and to revive aboriginal art, as well as to negotiate new cultural meanings with locals and visitors in the modern world (Markwick, 2001). This essay will analyze two tourist art items from Hilo Hattie and ABC Store catalogues: the plastic floral lei and the petroglyph pottery. These tourist art objects serve different purposes and targets different audiences, but they both serve economic and symbolic functions that may stereotype native cultures, and they may also help promote local history and culture to locals and visitors.
The first to be analyzed is the plastic floral lei. It is a product that seems to be intended for visitors and not the locals, because locals can use their natural resources to create their own floral lei. The locals also already know enough of the culture to demand authentic or natural floral lei, unlike visitors (Graburn, 1984, p.400). Visitors may not know or are not interested in authentic materials (Graburn, 1984, p.400), especially when they want a preserved souvenir. Furthermore, the plastic floral lei is produced as a souvenir for tourists. It is not part of traditional art, because it is used as an accessory by native women. The native tribe that uses natural lei has no “cultural stake” in creating plastic floral lei (Graburn, 1984, p.400). Traditional art is part of the cultural heritage and history of the aborigines. Though floral lei can be seen as a cultural symbol, it does not have deep cultural meaning as a form of art. It is not even prepared with high craftsmanship in mind. This item is also a souvenir because it is evidently a “new form” of the natural lei; it is made from plastic, a modern external resource that can produce inexpensive souvenirs (Graburn, 1984, p.400). Plastic is also related to mass production of cultural items. This modern material further commoditizes the idea of flower lei, which is far from its original use, where it is “made” for
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