See New Artworks Added to “Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna” at HiSAM

The exhibition has expanded into the Hawai‘i State Art Museum’s former café and gift shop spaces.


Gift Shop Interior

Photo: Brandyn Liu



The holiday season comes with an extra dash of stress this year. Choose some self-care by taking some time to relax and find inspiration from new art installations at the Hawai‘i State Art Museum.


The new installations are additions to the Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna exhibition currently on view in the museum’s main gallery on the second floor. Curated by kānaka artists for kānaka artists, this exhibition displays a scope of contemporary Hawaiian art rarely seen by the public. Inside HiSAM’s former café and gift shop, curators Drew Broderick, Kaʻili Chun and Kapulani Landgraf have infused new life. The walls are now filled with works by artists both emerging and established. The curators say that, taken together, the intergenerational group reminds visitors of the ways in which ancestral knowledge can be brought into present day representations in order to activate connections across time.


SEE ALSO: The Hawai‘i State Art Museum Is Reopening Monday, July 13. Here’s What You Need to Know


Cory Taum Detail

Cory Kamehanaokalā Holt Taum, detail image, Death of Cook, 2014, acrylic aerosol on wood. Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



In the former gift shop space are recent works by educator and business owner Herman Piʻikea Clark. His diverse range of skills includes painting, woodblock printing, drawing and encaustic painting (melted beeswax colored with pigments); he works on canvas board, heavy drawing paper and stretched canvas. By blending Māori and Hawaiian design inspirations, ancestral guardians manu (bird), manō (shark) and lupe (stingray) are revealed through abstract layers of color and patterns.


Herman Piʻikea Clark Detail

Herman Pi‘ikea Clark, detail image, Untitled (Hīhīmanu), 2020, mixed media on canvas board. Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



On the walls next to the gift shop space, we can see pieces by the next generation of contemporary Hawaiian artists. Bold, large-scale works by Cory Kamehanaokalā Holt Taum, Nanea Lum and Nālamakūikapō Ahsing fill the walls with their unique stories. Trained in Western fine art media, the young artists take the ball and run with it, incorporating their kānaka voices into visual storytelling. Lum’s background in figurative art pushes the boundaries of Hawaiian narrative with oil paintings on stretched canvas. Ahsing combines printmaking along with ʻohe kāpala (carved bamboo stamps with traditional motifs used for printing on kapa) on paper to explore new ways of creative expression. Taum, a popular muralist, uses aerosol paint, shaped panels and acrylic paint with trompe l’oeil optical illusions to depict graphic compositions that explore Hawai‘i’s past. With artistic practices deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and concepts, the emerging artists mash up the traditional with contemporary and help connect a bridge to the past, present and future.


SEE ALSO: HiSAM Welcomes Visitors Back with “For Walls,” a new COVID-Inspired Art Exhibit


Cafe Installation Courtesy

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



Pro tip: if you’re going to stop by for a short visit, you can park your car for free in the 20-minute loading zone on Richards Street. Remember to set your timer to avoid getting a parking ticket!


But if you have time to stay awhile, head upstairs to the second floor to see more of the Mai hoʻohuli i ka lima i luna exhibition. You’ll feel the presence of generations of artists that helped to create it.


Nl Papahānaumoku 2017

Nanea Lum, Papahānaumoku, 2017, oil on canvas. Photo: courtesy of Hawai‘i State Art Museum



Free admission, 250 S. Hotel St., Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is available at the Ali‘i Place municipal parking lot and metered street parking on Richards Street.