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.
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8. “Ka Mooiliili” (The Dragon in Pieces)
Kazu Fukuda (Kauinana), 1998
Kuhio Elementary, King Street near University Avenue
Rising up in front of Kuhio Elementary’s library building, large, rounded shapes undulate, the parts recalling the shape of teeth, an eyeball or vertebrae. These are the remains of a legendary moo who battled Pele’s sister Hiiaka that form the bumps and ridges of Moiliili. Encompassing history and culture, Kazu Kauinana’s sculpture complements the school setting and is obviously well loved. A recent visit found a father and daughter sitting on vertebrae “chairs,” a small puka held a pair of child-size silver sandals and the upright “fins” sported lei and ferns.
9. "Arc-en-Ciel" (The Rainbow)
Robert Delauney, 1913
Oil on canvas
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Gallery 27
Bright and charming, “Arc-en-Ciel” holds down one corner of Gallery 27. Painter Delauney is lesser known than the giants of Modernism, but he moved in their orbit. “‘The Rainbow’ is an especially fine example of Delauney’s work,” says Theresa Papanikolas, the museum’s curator of European and American Art. In the years following Picasso and Braque’s breakthroughs into Cubism, Delauney reinterpreted the new movement in terms of hue, using colored planes to provide the picture’s structure. This painting moves toward abstraction, but you can still pick out the Paris skyline and the tip of the Eiffel Tower piercing the large rainbow.
10. "The Arrival"
Carl Pao and Solomon Enos, 2010
Acrylic on panels
Sheraton Waikiki, main lobby
Don’t miss this recent mural, which curves off the Sheraton’s entryway. Carl Pao and Solomon Enos, among the new wave of Native Hawaiian artists, collaborated on this visual tale of colonization, growth and convergence. Using abstract forms to show the Islands’ first inhabitants—birds, fish, plants—life forms travel from right to left and shift to show man’s arrival (sails) and the turning gearlike form of Western influence and philosophy. The round seed at the center represents Po, the deepest mystery of life’s origins. Using a fresh palette and contemporary interpretation, Pao and Enos move beyond an idealized Hawaii and into the 21st century.