Exhibition presents a boundary-pushing exploration of the most urgent global issues of our time
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Exhibition presents a boundary-pushing exploration of the most urgent global issues of our time
Daniel Kauwila Mahi. Kuikawalakii, 2021. 3-D printed sculpture. Image courtesy of the artist.

HONOLULU, HI.- This fall the Honolulu Museum of Art offers a visually dynamic exploration of the most urgent global issues of our time. Artists of Hawaiʻi Now features 18 leading contemporary artists of Hawai‘i, whose compelling and essential works confront some of today’s most crucial and timely themes such as Indigenous rights, the environment and a range of social concerns. It also serves as a model for how museums can partner with local creatives to enact meaningful community solutions from the roots up. Artists of Hawaiʻi Now builds upon the museum’s longstanding tradition of showcasing the work of Hawaiʻi-based artists, directly supporting and investing in the local arts ecosystem. This exhibition amplifying works representative of the creativity and innovation that Hawaiʻi offers the global community.

Artists of Hawai‘i Now is co-curated by HoMA Curatorial team members Taylour Chang and Marlene Siu, who have worked in close collaboration with the 18 artists featured in the exhibition: Nāʻālehu Anthony, Gwen Arkin, Andy Behrle, Gaye Chan, Jennifer Goya, Lynda Hess, Christopher Kahunahana, Kapulani Landgraf, Daniel Kauwila Mahi, Lanakila Mangauil, John Mantanona, Manu Mei-Singh, Nicole Naone, Cara Oba, Kyle Oba, Aura Reyes, Juvana Soliven and Noe Tanigawa.

“The artists selected for Artists of Hawaiʻi Now encompass a broad spectrum of levels within their artistic careers, from emerging artists who have never shown before to artists who are featured in national and international collections. The group is unified through their bold voices and innovative practices,” shared Siu.

The exhibition presents 13 new site-specific installations employing a wide variety of technologies, media and techniques. It will be on view at HoMA from Sept. 16, 2021, through Jan. 22, 2022.

Works in the exhibition include Nāʻālehu Anthony’s Holomua (2021), a large-scale projection featuring footage from the sailing canoe Hōkūleʻa, posing questions of navigation and inviting personal introspection. Daniel Kauwila Mahi’s Kuikawalakii (2021) is an 8-foot-tall ki’i statue leading to a virtual universe — accessed by mobile phone — that reimagines Hawai‘i’s future through acts of decolonization. Andy Behrle’s Ku‘u Hae Aloha (My Beloved Flag) (2021), inspired by a Hawaiian quilt found in HoMA’s permanent collection, features a digital montage of footage of water sources collected throughout the Hawaiian islands. Juvana Soliven’s Body Weaponized (2021) is an armory of eight to 12 weapons, each in the shape of a medical instrument and representing a subversion of objects that were once used to oppress the female body. Christopher Kahunahana, Lanakila Mangauil and Nicole Naone present PIKO (2021), an immersive projection experience featuring a virtual reality component that asks the question “What is sacred?” using landscape footage captured on Hawaiʻi Island’s Mauna Kea.

“Artists of Hawai‘i Now spotlights a vibrant constellation of Hawai‘i’s artistic voices through their commitment to forging creative grassroots community-building and re-envisioning our collective present and future in resonant and vital ways,” said Chang.

While their individual practices and perspectives vary greatly, all the artists in the exhibition are trailblazers, deeply engaged in fields and local communities beyond the gallery space. Their artworks, both contemplative and charged, investigate themes such as sustainability and the environment, technological innovation and systems change, land use, cultural heritage and identity, social issues and Hawai‘i’s past and present. Taken together, the works in Artists of Hawaiʻi Now question power dynamics, our relationships to each other and our shared planet, while offering a collective vision of how we might navigate the future.

Artists of Hawai‘i Now was made possible by leading sponsor the Maurice and Joanna Sullivan Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Dods Foundation in Memory of Diane Dods, Robert and Linda Nichols, Donald and Laura Goo, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Jean E. Rolles, with support by Hawai‘i Contemporary. Special thanks to presenting corporate sponsor Hawaiian Airlines with additional funding from First Hawaiian Bank, Halekulani Corporation, Nella Media Group, Outrigger Hospitality Group and Zippy’s Restaurant.

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