News Release

Nicole Duarte • Pu‘uhonua Society 


Pu‘uhonua Society announces partnership with
Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives for CONTACT 2019

HONOLULU (Feb. 22, 2019) — Pu‘uhonua Society announces an exciting partnership with the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives for CONTACT, one of the most comprehensive thematic exhibitions of contemporary art in Hawai‘i, now in its sixth year. The show will be on view at Hawaiian Mission Houses April 4–May 4, 2019 and the exhibition opening will be Saturday, April 6 at 6:00pm at the Hawaiian Mission Houses. 

The annual exhibition explores the notion of contact as it relates to the Hawaiian Islands, its people, and their experiences. CONTACT 2019: Acts of Faith will survey dimensions of spiritual belief, in particular the spiritual landscape of Hawaiʻi, the relationship between cultural and religious practice, and the legacy of religion and colonization in the Islands. The exhibition will be curated by Ara Laylo, a Hawai‘i-based artist, designer and educator, and Josh Tengan, Native Hawaiian contemporary art curator, writer, and arts administrator.

“Hosting the CONTACT exhibition at Hawaiian Mission Houses is a unique opportunity to explore new ways of seeing the interwoven fibers that make the spiritual fabric of Hawai’i.  We are proud to participate in a discourse fueled by the creative and engaged minds in our community,” says Elizabeth Po’oloa, Director of Operations and Collections.

CONTACT 2019 will feature curated art installations sited in the outdoor environs of the Hawaiian Mission Houses’ property as well as inside the three mission houses: Hale Lāʻau (The 1821 Mission House), Ka Hale Kamalani (Chamberlain House, built in 1831), and Ka Hale Paʻi (Printing House, built in 1841).

CONTACT 2019 will also include a series of complementary programs (artist talks, panel discussions, music events, etc.), which will be free and open to the public. For more information, visit

CONTACT 2019 is presented by Pu‘uhonua Society and is made possible by funding from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, DAWSON Art Project, and Nā Mea Hawai‘i. 

About Pu‘uhonua Society

Pu‘uhonua Society is a nonprofit that creates opportunities for Native Hawaiian and Hawai‘i-based artists and cultural practitioners to express themselves and engage with and impact audiences. We support artists and makers who serve as translators/mediators/amplifiers of social justice issues in the community. We champion the creative arts through the management of a range of contemporary art projects (like art exhibitions, like CONTACT, and community programs). Such projects further the reach of Hawaiian artists and amplify their voices. For more information, visit

About Hawaiian Mission Houses

Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives preserves the heritage and interprets the stories of the American Protestant Missionaries, their descendants, and their relationships with the people and cultures of Hawai‘i, connecting with contemporary life and encouraging a deeper understanding and appreciation for the complex history that continues to shape Hawai‘i.

Hawaiian Mission Houses was established in 1923 by the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, a private, non-profit organization and genealogical society. It consists of three 19th century structures that served as homes and workplaces for the first Protestant missionaries who came to Hawai‘i. For more information, visit:

CONTACT 2019 Curator Bios

Ara Laylo is a designer, musician, promoter, artist, and educator. With 18 years of experience promoting and curating design, music, and art in Hawai‘i, she brings a deft style as the creative director of NMG Network. Between deadlines, she periodically serves as a design and typography lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Ara can often be found volunteering for local nonprofit groups that support Hawai‘i’s arts and culture community. She was recently selected as a participating artist in the Honolulu Biennial 2019.

Josh Tengan is a Honolulu-based curator and project manager in the visual arts. Since 2014, he has worked with local and Native Hawaiian artists, through the arts nonprofit Pu‘uhonua Society, to deliver Hawaiʻi’s largest annual thematic contemporary art exhibition, CONTACT. He holds a curatorial studies MA with distinction from Newcastle University (UK) and a BA in Fine Art from Westmont College. In 2017, he was appointed as the Assistant Curator for the second edition of the Honolulu Biennial, To Make Wrong/Right/Now, working with Head Curator, Nina Tonga. Tengan brings a deep understanding of Hawaiʻi, its artists, and practitioners to all of his curatorial projects. 





Puʻuhonua Society is pleased to announce the theme and curators of the fifth annual CONTACT exhibition, happening at the Honolulu Museum of Art and in spaces around Waikīkī in April 2018.

The CONTACT ZONE is an anthropological concept coined by Mary Louise Pratt and defined as "a social space where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many part of the world today." Artists are encouraged to explore the cultural juxtapositions, entanglements, similarities and learning opportunities that are unique to Hawai‘i, its history, and its people.


Keola Naka'ahiki Rapozo and Michael Rooks have been selected as this year's curatorial team for CONTACT 2018. Rapozo is the creative director and co-founder of the iconic Hawaiian streetwear brand FITTED. Rooks serves as the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary art at the High Museum and has previously held curatorial positions at The Contemporary Museum and the Honolulu Academy of Arts, before the institutions merged to become the Honolulu Museum of Art. Rapozo and Rooks will work together to curate and jury the multisite project. 


As the epicenter of tourism in Hawaii today, Waikīkī continues to be a natural contact zone on O‘ahu. From the landing of Kamehameha and his foreign army to invade O‘ahu, to the boatloads of tourists on Matson’s Lurline at the turn of the century, Waikīkī is both a historic and a present contact zone.

In addition to including installations on the grounds of the Honolulu Museum of Art School, CONTACT organizers are working to secure public and private spaces in around Waikīkī to cite contemporary art projects. If artists are interested in proposing projects, please contact


As in years past, there are two phases to the exhibition development - Call for Proposals and Jury Day. During the Call for Proposals phase, curators will work with selected artists to develop and realize projects after receiving and reviewing initial proposals. On Jury Day, Hawaiʻi-based artists are invited to bring completed work that reflects their interpretation of the theme, Contact Zone, for jurying and consideration for inclusion in the exhibition. Please stay tuned for dates and specific requirements.

Mahalo for your patience! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.