Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hawaii's Public Art

On the Hunt: See the city with fresh eyes via this article, an artistic scavenger hunt of Honolulu’s best public art.


(page 2 of 3)

5. "Untitled"

Jean Charlot, 1970-1975

Ceramic tile mural

United Public Workers Building, 1426 School St.

On a main Kalihi thoroughfare, Jean Charlot’s six large panels show Hawaii hard at work. From musicians and dancers to carpenters and janitors, the figures take shape in his characteristically blocky style, full of life and color.

Charlot lived and worked in Mexico for many years, participating in the muralism movement that infused art with social conscience and politics. He carried that sensibility through his many Hawaii works after moving here in 1949


6. "Na Lehua Helelei" (The Scatterred Lehua Blossoms)

Rocky Jensen, 1999

Ohia wood

Fort DeRussy, fronting the U.S. Army Museum

Five imposing kii stand at Kalia, the gateway to Waikiki, where the greenery of the Hale Koa grounds counter the high-rise hotels. Kamehameha stepped ashore here in his push to conquer Oahu and later presented the land to High Chief Kalanimoku for his aid in the crucial Battle of Nuuanu.

It’s a fitting spot for Jensen’s images of Kunuiakea (Ku), each kii representing a different aspect of the Hawaiian god. The title connects red flower blossoms to the blood of fallen warriors. Jensen carved the figures over a period of four years and also designed the semicircular setting with its pathway of smoothed stones. The effect combines imposing power and sacred reverence.


Photo: Courtesy Contemporary Art Museum

7. “L’Enfant et les Sortiléges” (The Bewitched Child)

David Hockney, 1983

Acrylic on canvas and wood, carpeting, velour, wool, laminated foam board and colored light

The Contemporary Museum

Step into the Cades Pavilion amid the gardens at The Contemporary Museum and you’re surrounded by bluish light, magical trees that form a forest with organic floating shapes and black figures. The air sighs with the music of Ravel’s 1925 opera L’Enfant et les Sortiléges. The museum’s installation piece was originally David Hockney’s stage set for the opera. In 1986, The Contemporary Museum acquired L’Enfant, outbidding several other museums for this piece from an important contemporary artist.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Subscribe to Honolulu

Honolulu Magazine June 2019
Edit ModuleShow Tags



9 Greatest Honolulu Homes

Great Homes

Stunning, historic, extraordinary.


Can the Mainland Do Poke Right? Do We Want Them To?​


Martha Cheng, author of The Poke Cookbook and former line, talks about how a New York City publisher decided Hawai‘i’s favorite pūpū was for everybody.


50 Essential Hawai‘i Books You Should Read in Your Lifetime


The most iconic, trenchant and irresistible island books, as voted by a panel of literary community luminaries.


Everything You Need to Know About Local Fruit in Hawai‘i


Fruits are part of our history and culture, a way for us to feel connected to our community.



A Local’s Guide to Buying Reef-Safe Sunscreen


Five Hawai‘i brands have created reef-safe sunscreens that are safe for your ʻohana and the ocean. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags