• Tabatha Forbes

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
William Blake.

The Printed Hibiscus is an exploration into botanical study and floral fabric history, settling uncomfortably on the stylised hibiscus as it has come to represent / misrepresent the South Pacific.

The project research has taken several different turns - beginning with the flower as a botanical specimen, connecting to its global plant genus, and secondly as an ethnobotanical subject, exploring the intersection between humans and plants.

This intersection is not discussed through its cultural use by indigenous pacific communities but instead, references the flower as a brand through fabric design history, centred on its nearly 100 year old connection to Hawaii. The focus is narrowed to the printed hibiscus image that is recognised around the world through the infamous 'Hawaiian' or 'Aloha' shirt.

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 10am-5pm


  • 3/582 Karangahape Road
  • (Gallery entrance via 2 Newton Road)
  • Auckland, New Zealand