HONOLULU MUSEUM OF ART SCHOOL
1111 Victoria Street. Honolulu, HI 96814
April 2 - April 15, 2015
Juried by Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu, former Bishop Museum curator and current cultural specialist at University of Hawaii at Mānoa’s American Studies department, and Ngahiraka Mason, Indigenous curator, Māori Art, at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Aotearoa.
Artists were asked to respond to the contact period in Hawai’i from the 1890s through the 1930s. The writings of John Dominis Holt, a native Hawaiian Ali’i, writer, publisher, philanthropist, art collector and philosopher, were considered by artists as a source of insight and inspiration. In particular the seminal monograph, On Being Hawaiian, dissects some of the intensity of contact from this period.
During this pivotal, post Hawaiian nationhood period, the course of island history had been set; a self- anointed provisional government took over leadership of the Hawaiian Islands, the Territory of Hawaii had an appointed Governor, the US military built a dozen installations, hotels bloomed in Waikiki as visitors flocked to the islands, and no tariffs on “imports” to the continent made Hawai’i the capital of sugar production in America. This time period marked an intense period of contact around heritage, history, continuity, resilience, resistance, integration and change.
E kūpaʻa ma ke aloha i ka ʻāina.
We weep, we mourn, we gather, we protest, we honor, we celebrate, we sing, we dance, we create, we communicate; we are firm and steadfast in our love for this land, for each other, and the inevitability of our nationhood reborn. CONTACT / 2015 takes on one of humankind's biggest themes; contact between individuals, groups and societies. CONTACT is no longer a speculative compulsion but a means to engage personal, social, cultural, spiritual and political realities today. Kanaka maoli artists and Hawaiʻiʻs artists are poised to recalibrate historic legacies to make outstanding contributions that push, question and dissolve cultural, personal and societal boundaries. This presentation of contemporary art practice also shifts visual thinking to advance discussions about contact. The artists in CONTACT / 2015 provide vital insights that reflect this moment, time and place.
Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu and Ngahiraka Mason
NGAHIRAKA MASON is a curator of 20 years experience gained at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the largest public art museum in Aotearoa New Zealand. Ngahiraka’s interests span historic to contemporary approaches to art praxis. Her commitment to contemporary practice includes mentoring, collaborating and commissioning artists and acquiring artworks for her institution. Ngahiraka is consulted on indigenous art practice and invited to comment on the state of contemporary art today. Her recent exhibitions include: Pulima Art Award: Maori Video Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan (Nov 2014 – Jan 2015) and Five Maori Painters, Auckland Art Gallery (2014). Recent publications include, “Shared Legacies” in Gottfried Lindauer: His Maori Portraits, Berlin, Germany (2014), Five Maori Painters and “The State of Maori Art in an International Context” in Sakahan: International Indigenous Art, Canada (2013).
NOELLE M.K.Y. KAHANU is a writer, artist and curator born, raised and educated in Honolulu, Hawai`i. She worked at Bishop Museum from 1998 to 2014, where she served as cultural inventory specialist, project manager, and Director of Community Affairs. Noelle oversaw the annual Native Hawaiian Arts Market and has developed over 20 exhibitions incorporating the works of more than 100 native artists. She was on the project team that guided the historic renovation of Hawaiian Hall (2009) and Pacific Hall (2013) and was instrumental in the 2010 landmark exhibition E Kū Ana Ka Paia, which brought together the last three Kū temple images in the world. Kahanu is currently an assistant specialist in Public Humanities and Native Hawaiian programs in the American Studies department at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
HAWAII PUBLIC RADIO - Listen to CONTACT coverage on HPR2 by Noe Tanigawa