CONTACT is an annual exhibition of contemporary art exploring the notion of contact as it relates to Hawai‘i, its people, and their experiences. The curators of CONTACT 2018, along with presenter Puʻuhonua Society, seek artwork and proposals for the fifth annual CONTACT exhibition, on view at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, April 6–21, 2018.


The Contact Zone is an anthropological term 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 parts of the world today."

As racial and ethnic tensions rise across the United States, Hawai‘i continues to be model for diversity and inclusiveness: Our populace has no ethnic majority, nearly a quarter of us identify as multi-racial, and there are more than 100 languages spoken in our Islands. Despite all of this, we often encounter spaces where worldviews, ideologies, and philosophies clash, collide, and intersect.
Today, the words Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), kamaʻāina (born in Hawaii), and malihini (visitor or newcomer) have become a way to describe a person’s relationship to the Hawaiian Islands. Historically, kamaʻāina (child of the land) and malihini described a Kanaka Maoli’s relationship to where he/she was at any given time, meaning that everyone is kamaʻāina to somewhere.
For CONTACT 2018, artists are encouraged to consider the contact zones that exist today and to explore the cultural juxtapositions, entanglements, similarities, and learning opportunities that are unique to Hawai‘i, its history, and its people. Can utopia only exist amongst likeminded individuals? Or can we move beyond contentious histories and spaces of conflict toward meaningful dialogues and tolerance?


As the epicenter of tourism in Hawai‘i today, Waikīkī is a natural contact zone on O‘ahu. From Kamehameha I’s invasion of O‘ahu in 1795, to the boatloads of tourists on Matson’s Lurline at the turn of the century, Waikīkī is both an historic and a present-day contact zone.
In addition to including installations on the grounds of the Honolulu Museum of Art School, CONTACT organizers are pursuing public and private spaces in and around Waikīkī to site contemporary art projects. If artists are interested in proposing site-specific projects in Waikīkī, please contact, Josh Tengan at


MICHAEL ROOKS has served the High Museum as the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art in since 2010. He was appointed Commissioner and co-curator of the U.S. Pavilion at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2010. Prior to joining the High Museum, Mr. Rooks held curator positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Contemporary Museum Honolulu, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  As curator at The Contemporary Museum Honolulu, Rooks curated more than 15 exhibitions including projects by Michael Lin, Paul Morrison, and Yoshitomo Nara.

KEOLA NAKAʻAHIKI RAPOZO is the creative director and co-founder of FITTED, the iconic Hawaiian streetwear brand. With strong support from the local community, FITTED has established itself as a world renowned and respected brand, fusing Rapozo’s interests in aloha wear, street culture, and contemporary art. His diverse design resume spans multiple industries — streetwear, fashion, surf/skate, footwear, restaurants, development and interior design — and includes large branding projects with Hawaiian Airlines, POW! WOW! Hawaii, and Polynesian Voyaging Society. Rapozo is inspired by the rich Hawaiian culture that he embraces and fuses it into everything he designs.


Artists of Hawai‘i — those living and working in Hawai‘i and those from Hawai‘i working abroad — are eligible to submit proposals or artwork for CONTACT 2018.


FOR: Artists who would like to work with curators or who would like to propose site-specific installations.
REQUIREMENTS: Proposal that details artwork, budget, and location; resume; and work samples.
DEADLINE: Rolling acceptance ending January 31, 2018.
CONTACT 2018 curators will work with a limited number of artists to develop and realize their projects. While there are no limits on the scale, media, or location of proposed projects, all proposals will be assessed in areas of strength of concept, capabilities of artist to execute the proposal, and feasibility of materials, scale, and location. In addition to including installations on the grounds of the Honolulu Museum of Art School, CONTACT 2018 will expand to include installation work in site-specific locations throughout Waikīkī. CONTACT organizers are currently working to finalize spaces.

Please submit your proposal, resume, and work samples to  



FOR: Artists who would like to work independently and submit work for juried consideration.
REQUIREMENTS: Artwork delivered in-person. Maximum three works of art per artist
JURY DAYApril 2, 2018• 9am–6pm • Honolulu Museum of Art School, Main Gallery
As in years past, there will be a juried component of the exhibition. Hawaiʻi-based artists are invited to bring completed work that reflects their interpretation of the theme, Contact Zone, to be juried for inclusion in the exhibition. Contemporary work of all media and method (two- and three-dimensional, mixed-media, installation, video, etc.).  CONTACT curators will jury work based on its concept, response to the theme, aesthetic, and technical execution.

Note: While all forms of media are accepted, entries may be rejected based on space, feasibility, and installation concerns. 

Josh Tengan
Project Curator, CONTACT

Maile Meyer
Executive Director, Puʻuhonua Society