Updated: January 29, 2023
Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery presents ‘Ike Kanaka, an invitational exhibition featuring new work by ten Kanaka ʻŌiwi artists from Hawai‘i nei pae ʻāina and the continental US.
‘Ike Kanaka presents the embodiment of ʻōiwi perspectives, experiences, and knowledge grounded in the past and communicated in this time to illuminate the future. Participating artists are: Bernice Akamine, Kalaʻiakea M. Blakemore, Hoaka Delos Reyes, Solomon Enos, Pōhaku Kaho‘ohanohano, Lehuauakea, Kawika Lum-Nelmida, Meleanna Aluli Meyer, Aulii Mitchell, and Cory Kamehanaokalā Holt Taum.
The exhibit opens Tuesday, Jan. 17 and runs through March 18. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and admission is free.
“Our planning for this exhibition began in 2019, with many in-depth discussions about Indigenous ideas and the cultural issues Hawaiians are facing today. We talked about generational learning in a time of hulihia (disruptive change or chaos) and the importance of passing down essential stories and ancestral history to honor and sustain identity into the future”, says Gallery Director Neida Bangerter.
The artists were asked to connect idea, material, and skill to express ʻike: knowledge gained through experience and sound teachings, and moʻokūʻauhau: genealogy and its related origin stories.
Collectively, their work brings a multidirectional contemporary approach to ka wā ma mua, the time gone before, and influences ka wā ma hope, or the time yet to come. It was ultimately up to each artist to determine how to build ideas that connect to the sensibility of their topic, to broaden the concept and kaona (meaning) with unique perspectives on current situations, and how their voice can influence and educate others.
The inclusion of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi alongside English will offer an in depth experience and engagement that monolingual exhibits cannot deliver – a generative space where two living cultures are in true conversation. A dual language commitment serves to promote a revitalization of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, which struggles to thrive outside of educational spaces and a limited number of homes.
Translations were done by Hina Puamohala Kneubuhl– Haku ʻŌlelo, Kealopiko; translator in training at Awaiaulu, an O‘ahu-based organization dedicated to developing resources and resource people that can bridge Hawaiian knowledge from the past to the present and the future.
Exhibit-related public events
ʻIke Kanaka Observe & Play Family Day
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Families are invited for this special pre-opening event with an opportunity to visit the gallery for a special chance to meet the artists, who will share insight into their processes through demonstrations and hands-on art making, including lauhala weaving, ‘ohe kapala printing, pōhaku stone carving, and more! Keiki will have an opportunity to create their own piece of art to take home. Cost is free.
Hānau Hou Ka Hula Kiʻi Performance by Kumu Hula Auli‘i Mitchell and Hālau ʻO Kahiwahiwa
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. | McCoy Studio Theater
This performance will showcase Hula Kiʻi, a critically endangered Hawaiian practice of the ritual dance of carved puppetry images. The Hula Kiʻi survived through the intelligence of the early loea hula (hula experts) and tell the story of Hawai‘i’s great chiefs and chiefesses, practiced by a select few hālau.
Tickets: $25 (plus applicable fees). General Seating (first come first seated). Children under 12 are half price. 10% MACC Member discount. Tickets available soon online only at MauiArts.org.
About the ‘Ike Kanaka exhibiting artists:
Bernice Akamine – Bernice earned a BFA and MFA in Sculpture from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, choosing to pursue a career in art later in life after raising her family. While she is known for multi-dimensional installations that often intersect with activism, her recent direction of work has shifted to a more intimate focus in creating hand-made objects.
Kala‘iakea M. Blakemore – Originally from Hawai‘i Island, Kala‘iakea holds a BA from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and an MFA in Printmaking from University of Iowa. She currently lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky and is a university faculty member. Her print-based works explore the inter-relation of the human body with the natural environment and personal heritage.
Hoaka Delos Reyes – The desire to work with pōhaku came late in life for Hoaka. After learning from elders who had knowledge about the old process, he experienced more years of trial and error until the desire became a passion, almost an obsession. His large works of stone bridge mo‘olelo with a contemporary sensitivity to place and the personal stories of Hawai‘i’s people.
Solomon Enos – Born and raised in O‘ahu’s Makaha Valley, Solomon’s art career of over 30 years spans a variety of media including oil painting, illustration, mural, and game design. A self described “Possibilist,” his work expresses an informed aspirational vision of the world with threads of science fiction and fantasy, all through the lens of his experience as a person Indigenous to Hawai’i.
Pōhaku Kaho‘ohanohano – Pōhaku is descended from a family of lauhala weaving lineage with deep connections and learning from seven master teachers. He is now a practitioner of traditional Hawaiian weaving, combining numerous styles together in his works.
Lehuauakea – Lehuauakea is originally from Hawai‘i Island and currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They explore a range of media based in traditional Kanaka ʻŌiwi craft, issues of cultural and biological ecologies, Indigenous identity, and environment.
Kawika Lum-Nelmida – Kawika studied Natural Environment and Fiber Arts within the Hawaiian Studies program at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, learning about lei hulu from Paulette Kahalepuna. He was awarded a Master’s Apprenticeship with Kahalepuna through the SFCA in 2013 and received a USA Fellowship in 2021.
Meleanna Aluli Meyer – An artist and educator, Meleanna’s formal training at Stanford University provided a solid foundation for her teaching career of over 20 years. Her work spans multiple genres, addressing Hawaiian issues that must come to light for further constructive debate and conversation.
Auli‘i Mitchell – Kumu Auli‘i is a third generation Kumu Hula of Hula Ki‘i, a dance that was passed down to him through oral tradition by his grandfather and mother. He has practiced and shared this cultural tradition and art form for nearly five decades and is determined to share this practice with younger generations.
Cory Kamehanaokalā Holt Taum – Cory is an active cultural practitioner and artist sourcing his inspiration from the stories of his ancestors and their relevance in today’s drastically changing Hawaiʻi. His iconic, large-scale paintings showcase his interpretations of the masterful, bold, and powerful visual forms of Native Hawaiian culture.