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Unreal: Hawaiʻi in Popular Imagination


Nov 27, 2018 to Jan 27, 2019
09:00 AM until 05:00 PM

This event occurs daily, every 1 day(s).


Unlike any J.M. Long Gallery exhibit in recent memory, this experiential installation sets up a dialectic between unreal depictions in commercial art and the contemporary reality of Hawaiʻi that has resulted from the wide use of stereotypical and culturally misappropriated depictions.


Unreal impressions of Hawaiʻi have fed Western popular imagination since the 1880s, largely through advertising’s sale and commodification of the idea of Hawaiʻi. Eurocentric interpretations of Hawaiʻi as a place and a people have since been disseminated worldwide. Unreal images enticed people to visit Hawaiʻi and to consume products infused with the imagined glamour and exotic allure of the islands. The global success of these advertising efforts lured people into a false familiarity. Hula dancers and surfers, palm trees and glowing sunsets—these are the popular depictions of the supposedly harmless daydreams of paradise.



Free with purchase of Bishop Museum admission


View map Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice Street, 1525
Honolulu, HI

Additional Information


Bishop Museum


(808) 847-3511

Contact email


We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information.

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Honolulu Magazine June 2019
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