Honolulu Museum of Art unveils 'Artists of Hawaii' exhibit

"Sky Burial" by Emly McIlroy is part of the 61st installment of the Honolulu Museum of Art's Artists of Hawaii exhibit.
"Sky Burial" by Emly McIlroy is part of the 61st installment of the Honolulu Museum of Art's Artists of Hawaii exhibit. Photo Credit: Honolulu Museum of Art

For art aficionados living on Oahu, the long-running Artists of Hawaii exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art is one of the state’s most anticipated exhibitions, and the 61st installment of the show opened earlier this month, showcasing a rich array of photography, painting, sculpture and mixed-media installations created only by artists who currently live in the Islands.

Nearly 250 Hawaii residents submitted portfolios of their artwork for consideration last year, and the selection process was handled by the museum’s director, deputy director and contemporary art curator over a period of just two days.

“We ended up with seven artists and a collective comprising four artists whom we feel represent a good combination of range of media, techniques and visions,” said James Jensen, the museum’s contemporary art curator. “The final selection includes some known artists as well as some who are relatively new on the scene.”

For Oahu visitors, Artists of Hawaii is a chance to see some of the terrific, thoughtful artwork being created across the state — work that can be tough to find in the more commercial art galleries travelers commonly encounter in Waikiki.

“The art does not mimic a romantic past,” Stephan Jost, the museum’s director, said of the show. “There are no paintings of rainbows or sculptures of hula dancers. It instead reveals what is happening in Honolulu today.”

Oahu travelers play a key role in the exhibition this year as several candid photographs of Waikiki visitors, taken by artist Elisa Chang near the ocean and on the beach, are featured in the show.

“Most tourists are unfamiliar and awkward in the ocean, sand and sun,” Chang wrote in her artist’s statement for show. “There is beauty, honesty and vulnerability when defenses are shed and one finally succumbs to vacation.”

Chang will be leading 30-minute interpretative tours of Artists of Hawaii Oct. 6 to 10. More details about other artist-lead tours of the show are available at the museum’s website

Artists of Hawaii runs through Oct. 25. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults and free for those 17 and under.
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