Category Archives: Exhibit News

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.

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:

Join Us Outside this Spring

Lone Banana – Photo by Wendy Roberts

With the prospectus now live for Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place Exhibit, you can start to familiarize yourself with overall exhibit concept and specific dates for each aspect. The best first steps to join us in the exhibit experience:

  1. Download the prospectus
  2. Use it to add dates to your calendar. We have a calendar on the site as well that you can refer to for plans.
  3. Sign up for the Newsletter. Please realize we will need to issue revisions to the prospectus in the future, and we are still actively developing the educational programs for each site. Signing up for the newsletter means we can notify you when these types of resources become available.
  4. Encourage fellow artists to sign up for the newsletter as well. Even if they only want to plein air paint with other artists, and they do not want to participate in the exhibition. The public is welcome to watch or join in on the educational opportunities and the art creation events, many of which are free.
  5. Look through the Locations and Education Page to see the locations and educational resources that are available. More will be added daily until we have them all complete.
  6. Complete the orientation/education by March 6. Some of the walking tours are coming up in a week or two for Waikiki and Kawainui – don’t miss out on these opportunities! Some locations have multiple options, and there are some where you will simply read or watch a video, and others where you can go to the site and hear about the mo`olelo from a practitioner, tour guide, or historian in person.

We hope to see you this Spring at the wahi pana sites!

Join us this Wednesday at a meeting in Chinatown to learn about Wahi Pana

The launch of this website marks the transition from planning to execution for this amazing exhibit, the concept and proposal were both created by Dawn Yoshimura who will be the overall creative director of this exhibit. It is the beginning of a group exploration among a diverse collection of artists throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Wahi Pana promises to be a memorable exhibit merging the practice of plein air art (art that has been created on site) with local Hawaiian history in an effort to see if appreciation and depiction of the locations will change or improve based on knowledge of both past and present. Will this extra knowledge of important events, lore, or history cause a shift in perception? How will it effect landscape painters who are accustomed to depicting the lush island scenery? How will 3D artists, print makers, and mixed media artists adapt their practice to involve firsthand observation of the site into their practice? We will find out together.

You can expect the prospectus to be posted very soon. Certain events are marked on the calendar already. This will hopefully give artists the chance to consider participation knowing in advance the days they will need to be available. If you want to know more, please come to the first informational meeting on January 30, 2019 at the Artists Lofts in Chinatown – there are two identical meetings at two separate times for your convenience. Please select one of the two and come hear about the event:

Times: 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm  (choose one)
Location: Aloha Tuscany Art Studio at the Chinatown Artists Lofts   

There are two separate entrances that you can use depending on where you arrive from — 1109 Maunakea Street or 1116 Smith Street (across from the Little Village Noodle House). Municipal parking is plentiful and presents the least expensive option. This meeting location is courtesy of Kimberly Howsley, MAAT. Thank you for hosting us Kimberly!

The invitation to attend this meeting is extended to all interested artists who can attend on Oahu. This exhibit is not limited to Oahu, however. We are also inviting Hawaii, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai artists to join us at a later date. We will publish our education materials and paint out locations for the other islands in February, so stay tuned.

You can join AHA if you want to be part of this extraordinary exhibit. Visit the AHA website if you would like to become a member.