Los Angeles exhibit explores rise of Tiki culture in America

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The rise of Tiki culture in 1950s America in the aftermath of World War Two is explored in a new exhibit that opened Friday in Los Angeles.

“The Art of Tiki” exhibition, at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Los Feliz, is showcasing everything from Tiki-style furniture and totems to modern art, based on cultural artifacts from Polynesia and Melanesia.

“Some of the pieces have elements of sci-fi. Some pieces have elements of other mid-century that aren’t really Tiki but because they come from that same era, seem somehow familiar and they’re really good neighbors,” gallery director Matt Kennedy told Reuters.

For twenty years, Tiki items first brought over to the U.S. by American soldiers that served in the South Pacific, found their way into American houses until it was deemed culturally insensitive, Kennedy said. It re-emerged in pop culture through Tiki-themed bars.

The exhibition runs until Oct. 29.

Reporting by Rollo Ross for Reuters TV; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and David Gregorio