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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 aloha@wahi-pana.com 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.