Author Archives: WahiPana

About WahiPana

Mo'olelo. Hawaiian for 'story' which is an elemental part of being human. We hunger for and enjoy stories that are reassuring, warn us, teach us, tell us who we are and why. Wahi Pana. Hawaiian for a locale with an associated mo'olelo which helps us make connection to the 'aina (land) and who we are. This site is dedicated to those who want to connect to wahi pana.

More mo’olelo at Honolulu Museum of Art School Main Gallery Nov 12, 13 and 19

Summer is over and everyone in Wahi Pana has been very busy! I’ve seen some of the beautiful artwork in other shows around the island, and our Wahi Pana artists have been busy in their communities. It is heartwarming to see the art spread out there.

Wahi Pana will continue as a blog and email newsletter. This channel will share mo’olelo about those of us who love art, who want to connect to wahi pana through shared stories.

Chemistry of Water, Hawaii Watercolor Society’s Open Juried Show features paintings selected by juror Paul Jackson, a nationally acclaimed watercolorist and teacher. The concept was to create a space where art and science meet in the same space. To spark dialogue between creatives and scientists about color and water. The exhibit is open through November 22. There are four lectures free to the public by scientists leading in their fields held in the gallery. For more information visit eventbrite.

Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place wrapup

The exhibition at Honolulu Musuem of Art School’s Main Gallery wrapped up on July 5th. This blog will continue to discuss wahi pana and offer opportunities to visit and learn about other wahi pana. Send me an email or comment here if you have suggestions, tips or share your experiences of wahi pana.

The exhibition displayed 73 works of art by 46 local artists. Eight wahi pana were represented: Thomas Square Park, Kea’iwa Heiau, Kawainui Wetlands, Waikiki from the zoo to Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Makaha to Ka’ena, Pu’u Honua Honaunau, Hilo, I’ao Valley.

The opening drew over 250 guests but during the 30 days it was open, there was an average of 30 visitors each day with over 1000 who came to see the show. There were at least nine works sold as a result of collectors seeing the work and other artists have reported other opportunities to participate in other shows or gain exposure for their work. The dialogue and learning about wahi pana, and the locations engaged teachers, students, artists, Hawaiian Cultural Practitioners and activists in discussing the importance of how one makes connection to your home.

As a result of this experience and with encouragement from ‘ohana, I’ve decided to continue wahi pana as a way to help malihini, kama’aina and kanaka maoli make connection with our ‘aina and a way to spread and share aloha internationally through spreading the knowledge and experience of wahi pana. Keep an eye out for opportunities for huaka’i (walking tours) and paintouts and other activities to open our eyes and hearts to the places we call home.

Mahalo e to all those who helped make this project a success! Makaho ke akua for guiding and protecting us.

Wahi Pana Catalog For Sale

sample PDF of 2 pages from catalog
Wahi Pana cover image composited by Wendy Roberts

The Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place exhibition is on view until July 5 2019 at the Honolulu Musuem of Art School’s Main Gallery, a 3500 square foot gallery that showcases community groups and local artists’ work as well as the staff and students of the Art School. It’s focus is on showcasing local art and education. The exhibition is the second of four exhibitions scheduled for 2019 and the next community organisations shows will be organised by the Hawaii Craftsman and Hawaii Watercolor Society.

An full color exhibition catalog is available for purchase at the HoMA Gift Shop for $15. You can also order a copy directly from Association of Hawaii Artists (AHA) or send an email to and we will send you a paypal invoice to get payment and delivery information.

Congratulations to Wahi Pana Award Winners

Ho’omaika’i ‘ana! Congratulations goes out to two participating artists who won special recognition for their submissions to Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place. The Spirit of Wahi Pana Award was given to Jimmy Tablante for his watercolor from Poka’i Bay ‘The Beautiful Day’ and the AHA President’s Award was given to Barbara Sumida for her oil also from Poka’i Bay ‘Ku’ilioloa Heiau.

AHA President Kimberly Howsley with AHA President’s Award winner Barbara Sumida
Winner of the AHA President’s Award. Ku’ilioloa Heiau. Oil. Barbara Sumida.

The Spirit of Wahi Pana Award was selected by Marlene Siu, HoMAS Gallery Manager after consultation by the two Hawaiian Kumu “Uncle Joe” Recca of Waikiki and Kumu Glen Kila of Marae Ha’a Koa. The criteria for selection was how well the artist appeared to have incorporated the following four criteria into their piece:

  1. Authenticity. This spoke to whether or not the artist appeared to have made a connection to the mo’olelo (story) and the ‘aina (land) of their selected wahi pana they responded to. This was judged upon their written reflection as well as the imagery and mood they evoked. The kumu and Ms. Siu evaluated these.
  2. Intellectual Content. This spoke to how well the artist seemed to understand and then interpret through their own personal perspective the mo’olelo they received. Creative use of this knowledge, accuracy of mo’olelo or the location, merging of the artist’s personal experience with the mo’olelo shared by the kumu. The kumu and Ms. Siu evaluated these.
  3. Technical skill. This spoke to how well the chosen media and method was incorporated by the artist. This was evaluated by Ms. Siu and consultation with the HoMA Curatorial staff.
  4. Integration of the whole. This spoke to how well the chosen media, method, content and sense of place was evoked by the artwork. Was oil the right choice? Was the stylistic choices or composition especially enhancing of the integration of the whole? This was evaluated by Kumu and Ms. Siu.
Spirit of Wahi Pana Award. The Beautiful Day. Watercolor. Jimmy Tablante.
Spirit of Wahi Pana Award winner Jimmy Tablante and AHA President Kimberly Howsley

AHA President Kimberly Howsley shared: “On behalf of Kumu Recca and Kumu Kila, along with Marlene Siu, I would like to share about how & why Jimi Tablante’s painting, A Beautiful Day was chosen for the Spirit of Wahi Pana Award of a $250 gift certificate generously donated by Chromaco Fine Art Printing in Iwalei.”

Howsley continues: “A decision was very challenging as there were so many great pieces. After much thought, Marlene paced the gallery for quite a while before coming to a conclusion. Marlene shared with me that Jimmy’s “A Beautiful Day” was created with great skill and also captures the sense of Wahi Pana. In seeing his painting, it brought to Kumu Glen’s mind the mo’olelo that he shared about his grandmother feeding the sharks near the Heiau. Jimi’s piece captured the intent of the exhibition connecting the mo’olelo to the work.” Howsley adds:

“Marlene also shared that it was wonderful to see how engaged Jimmy has been throughout the entire process. She stated that he seems to have gained a lot from the experience and has been able to communicate that in his work.”

Curator and Co-Chair Dawn Yoshimura’s statement about the awards process: “I did not select the awards. The jurying was done with no names, just the images online with the accompanying text. The kumu and Ms Siu had the advantage of being local and understanding Hawaiian values but not knowing the AHA membership well so I believe it was a great panel to give feedback on the show, not only to select the award winner but to validate all of the artists’ efforts.”

Howsley had this to say about the AHA President’s Award: “Not only am I honored to have been elected president of the Association of Hawaii Artists, but I had the distinct honor of being asked to present a President’s Award for the artwork that I felt most exemplifies the mana AND Wahi Pana of all of the works of art.” She continues:

“This was not an easy choice for me as I know that every piece of art in that gallery was created with the mana and the love from each of the artists! The painting I have chosen for the President’s Award which includes a $250 gift certificate generously donated by Chromaco Fine Art Printing in Iwalei and a one year, honorary membership to The Association of Hawaii Artists is Kū’īlioloa Heiau by Barbara Sumida.”

The exhibition Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place is on view until Friday July 5 2019 at the Main Gallery in the Honolulu Museum Art School Tuesdays through Sundays 10-4:30pm.

Join us at Wahi Pana: Thomas Square Sun June 16 10-4pm

Thomas Square Park wahi pana by David Luchak, oil. On view with the other wahi pana art.

Wahi Pana artists will once again converge, at the wahi pana of Thomas Square Park. Over a dozen participants will gather to do a paint out in the park and the public is invited to stop by and observe, talk story, or bring the keiki to learn more about this wahi pana with activity booklets produced in collaboration with AHA and the Bank of Hawaii Family Day team.

There will be guided tours of the exhibit at 11am 1pm and 3pm in the Main Gallery for those who want to learn about the exhibit and project. The exhibition is on view until July 5 Tuesdays through Sundays from 10AM through 4:30PM There are always at least one participating artist sitting the exhibition to be on hand to answer questions about the exhibition.

For more information contact

Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place Opening Reception Celebration

Saturday June 1 starting at 2pm artists started to gather on the steps of the Linekona or former Lincoln Elementary School, now the home of the Honolulu Musuem of Art School. The opening reception of the Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place exhibition began with over 200 guests gathered inside the foyer were called to gather with the blowing of the conch shell to listen to Kumu Glen Kila and chanter Christophor Oliviera of Marae Ha’a Koa open up the celebration with an oli calling all together as we all came at some point as malihini or newcomers to Hawai’i and while some may recount more generations than others who were born and raised in Hawai’i, we all through the practice of aloha are one family.

Kumu ‘Uncle Joe’ Recca spoke about wahi pana and then he and Kumu Shirley Kanemura Recca performed a wahi pana hula from Waikiki.

Speeches by HoMA Head Curator Healoha Johnson followed by Gallery Manager Marlene Siu congratulating Association of Hawaii Artists on delivering this complex exhibition to the community was followed by speeches by AHA President Kimberly Howsley and the presentation of awards for the Spirit of Wahi Pana to Jimmy Tablante for The Beautiful Day with a $250 certificate from sponsor Chromaco and AHA President’s Award to Barbara Sumida for Kū’īlioloa Heiau, with a year’s membership and show fees waived as well as a $250 certificate from Chromaco.

Welcome to the Opening Reception 2-4pm

wahi-pana logo
31 May-July 5 2019 at the HoMA Art School Main Gallery Tues-Sun 10-4pm daily

Join the AHA (Association of Hawaii Artists) artists, sponsors, and kumu who have worked together to expand knowledge of wahi pana in Hawai’i and find expression in their art in this highly anticipated exhibition. The reception will open with a welcome oli, blessing, song and hula followed by refreshments and live music to accompany the guests as they view the exhbition for the first time. Invite family and friends to this special event.

Honolulu Museum of Art School Main Gallery

1111 Victoria Street, Honolulu HI 96817

Saturday June 1 from 2-4pm

The HoMA Art School exhibition program seeks to engage the community to learn more about relevant topics by providing intersecting topics of interest for the art community and our larger community of those who call Hawai’i home or are interested in Hawaiian history and culture.

46 artists interpreted seven wahi pana after learning the mo’olelo of that locale. They convened during a three-day art creation event during March 8-10 and the finished work was submitted a month later for selection in this exhibition. There are 73 pieces of work in all media and styles with many surprising and delightful perspectives.

An exhibition catalog will on sale in the HoMA Gift Shop.

For more information:

Waikiki Tour Returns May 22. 2019!

Wahi Pana Participants at Honolulu Tour Part 1: You can go to Tour part 2 even if you did not attend part 1

News from Dawn Yoshimura:

Aloha e!

There will be a second Waikiki huakai with Uncle Joe Wednesday May 22.. For those of you who went on the first one, this will start where we ended, at the Royal Hawaiian Niu Grove. Here is the link on Eventbrite to signup. It is a rich experience as Kumu Recca shares the history of Waikiki. It ends at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. 

Here is the link to signup on eventbrite

TIP1: Parking is validated at the Royal Hawaiian with a purchase in the shopping center, so it is going to cost you $10 either way, but I recommend parking at the Hilton end in the municipal parking lot at the marina and walking back to the meeting point so you can leave directly afterwards.

TIP2: When you sign up, if you have an art business (GE licence) then you can answer YES you work with the visitor industry and your fee will be waived. Otherwise the tour costs $30, still well worth the money.

TIP3: Bring water to drink, wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes.

Moving into a New Phase

The site is going to change as the show approaches – slowly changing from education to preparation and finally presentation to the public. We are officially now in the art preparation phase where artists are well under way on their pieces with a deadline of April 5 for submission. To help you, we just released guides for framing and submission. Framing takes a while, especially if you opt to order online, so we have those instructions ready for you now so you can place orders in advance of the exhibit. These instructions are time-sensitive, so in place of perfection, we have opted to release them and issue revisions. Please take a look now so you have an idea of what to expect but check back for a more complete version at the end of March for submission – we are hitting some snags with online payment that we will iron out.

Accordingly, to prevent the menu from becoming a nightmare, the links on the menu are being moved to help simplify the interface. Now some of the pages we created to help you with education and creation days have moved to the “Archive” – you can still see them, but they are neatly stored under a nice drop-down menu heading. If anything is there, it is still good information, but it is no longer top priority.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in the art creation days and to learn the history of the wahi pana locations. Special thanks to the extra effort of our island neighbors who have added the inter-island participation to this exhibit and events. This has been very exciting and makes the islands feel more unified.

I would encourage you to pay attention to Instagram and Facebook. There have been many wonderful Facebook and Instagram posts. Search for the #wahipana and #associationofhawaiiartists tags (click on them inside Instagram or type them into the search bar, or look at the Facebook page for Association of Hawaii Artists to see many – but not all – of the posts). I am still playing catch up with posts – I have more than 20 more to go from the March 8 – 10 weekend! Posting these photos has been a lovely experience – to review them each and see the pieces unfolding from so many artists with different styles is a dream come true. There is so much energy in these works of art!

Wendy Roberts
Web Developer for (and enthusiastic participant of) Wahi Pana

The Kawainui Tour/Lecture Series is on YouTube!

Kawainui Marsh at Sunset; photo by Wendy Roberts; Access to this area of Kawainui is via Kaha Park

Aloha artists! We recently completed the editing and posting of videos from the tour of Kawainui Marsh with Dr. Paul Brennan. It was initially planned to be on-site, but only the first clip displays the rainy day outdoors that sent us scurrying inside. We moved over to Sherree’s home (thank you Sherree!) and continued to listen to the history of the area. After reviewing the videos, I felt there were 5 main topics that could each have a well-organized clip:

Kawainui Tour on a rainy day; photo by Spencer Chang

Kawainui Marsh – The Flow of Water:

Kawainui Marsh – Wahi Pana and the Role of Artists:

Na Pohaku o Hauwahine and the Rice Mills:

Kawainui Agriculture:

Ulupo Heiau Area:

Ulupo Heiau has a Hawaiian Garden full of beautiful loi and plants that were useful to Hawaiians. It is amazing! Photo by Joel Bradshaw
Na Pohaku o Hauwahine has a beautiful trail of endemic, native, and canoe plants overlooking the Kawainui wetlands. At the top of the promontory is a wahi pana: the boulders where Hauwahine, powerful mo’o guardian of Kawainui primarily spent her time.

Together, these clips are more than half the tour. The remainder will be edited and published later. The other segments of the tour grew organically out of these primary topics and largely discuss Maunawili, Kailua town, and Coconut Grove, all areas we are not covering in the Wahi Pana Exhibit, but excellent information that ought to be shared online (and I will!).

I promised to drop the coordinates for the beginning of Na Pohaku o Hauwahine Trail as well. Please click this link to view the entry to Na Pohaku o Hauwahine. Note, this is a place that will be a little harder to work than most Wahi Pana sites. The nearest bathrooms are at Kaha/ Kawainui Neighborhood Park, a 5-minute drive once you have hiked out of your work area. The third site is also easier: YMCA will usually let you use the bathroom there as you visit Ulupo Heiau if you are polite about it.

No matter which bathrooms you use, please do not leave any trace of paints or other inconvenient art materials in the bathroom sinks or floors, and plan to clean anything that can clog drains at home. I usually clean my water-based media brushes as well as I can, then wrap with wet paper towels to keep them pliable until I can get home and clean them more thoroughly with soap. I clean oil paint brushes either with small amounts of carefully controlled oils or spirits, or I wrap them in a paper towel until I can go home and wash them well the moment I get there. There are ways of containing and preventing creative materials from dirtying communal areas. Please be aware of this and pack carefully. We will soon have guides up for working outdoors for several media posted on the site. These guides will help you be ready if you have never painted on-site before.