Founded in 2014, CONTACT is an annual juried exhibition of contemporary art exploring the notion of contact as it relates to the Hawaiian Islands, its people and their experiences.
The idea for CONTACT can be traced back to the 2012 ‘Ike Le‘a symposium, which stressed the need to revitalize the Hawaiian contemporary art scene and raise our collective awareness of maoli artists. With this in mind, CONTACT was developed. Today, the exhibition continues to support and create opportunities for artists in Hawai‘i while also helping to make contemporary art of Hawai‘i more accessible to a wider audience. With its epicenter firmly anchored in Hawai‘i (in terms of theme, art production, artists), CONTACT is a crucial complement to the global trend in art today.
Organized by the Maoli Arts Alliance (MAʻA) an initiative of Pu'uhonua Society, Na mea Hawai'i and ii gallery, and graciously supported by Puʻuhonua Society, Na mea Hawaii, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, CONTACT is dedicated to encouraging the production, display, viewing, and collecting of contemporary art in Hawaii. Each installment of CONTACT also has a full complement of public programming scheduled during the exhibition.
This exhibition is organized by the Maoli Arts Alliance (MA’A) an initiative of Pu’uhonua Society, Na Mea Hawaii and ii gallery. MA’A is a grassroots effort to emphasize and engage native Hawaiian contemporary artists along side other artists of Hawai’i as well as international artists. By inviting and honoring artists rooted in Hawai’i to begin creative dialogues, the Native Hawaiian creative community offers a source code for honest exchanges that help create real, relevant conversations and approaches to understanding the dynamics of Hawaii for Hawaiians today. Contemporary Art is a lens for dialogue and exchange.
The Pu’uhonua Society is a 501c3 started in 1970 as the Young of Heart Workshop and Gallery. Its mission is to create opportunities for Native Hawaiian artists, practitioners, writers, performers, and dancers to express themselves as Hawaiians through their chosen medium. The Pu‘uhonua Society finds and creates resources to support the creative arts in Hawaiian communities throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Operating for close to twenty years, Na Mea Hawai‘i is a resource center for things Hawaiian. Contemporary art, books about Hawaii and the pacific and native made material goods and objects are the focus of this business located in the Ward Warehouse, ‘ewa end. Nā Mea Hawai‘i holds over 200 classes and workshops annually to support place-based products and native knowledge exchange.
The indigenous/international gallery (ii gallery) is currently a brand applied to creative projects that meet the construct set out by curators Wei Fang and Maile Meyer. Originally an 800 sq. ft. gallery space on Auahi Street, the gallery was part of Interisland Terminal’s R/D project. ii gallery hosted one-person contemporary art shows for two years and now sponsors related events in community.
We are grateful to have the financial support of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Nā Mea Hawaii, Native Books, and the Pu’uhonua Society. Additional funds to support this exhibition are gratefully accepted, and can be donated online through the Pu’uhonua Society website, www.puuhonua-society.org.