Art Across the Islands
Observe the work of Hawaii’s artists and you’ll see and feel the poetry of the islands expressed in color, light, and shadow – painted, printed, sculpted, etched, photographed, and filmed. Likewise, the artisans and craftspeople, create masterpieces that are both timeless and timely – every one infused with the generous spirit of aloha that’s as much a part of their nature as the sun itself. The art experience – and the products of that experience – varies from island to island. The lush, natural landscape of Kauai inspires painting and crafts that are as sophisticated as they are direct. Painters, sculptors, and crafts-people thrive on Maui where the whaler’s art of carving on ivory is still quite popular. Oahu’s art scene is both steeped in tradition and wildly contemporary. And it won’t surprise you that creativity on Hawaii Island, can be fiery indeed. Best of all, no matter where you go in the islands, you’ll find that artists are just as accessible as the art they create.
Hawaii has more than its share of museums, celebrating everything from Hawaii’s history, culture and geography to its contemporary art. The Bishop Museum on Oahu is the largest museum in Hawaii dedicated to studying and preserving the state’s history and is also considered the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific. At the Lahaina Heritage Museum, visitors can literally feel the historical and cultural vitality of Maui’s legendary whaling town. And at the Kauai Museum, it’s possible to view galleries showcasing the work of multi-cultural artists, sculptors and craftsmen as well as learn about the geological formation of the Hawaiian Islands, early Native Hawaiian life, and the Hawaiian monarchy.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Contemporary Museum overlooking Honolulu has an awesome display of cutting-edge painting and sculpture. And for those interested in seeing the future, Hilo’s Imiloa Astronomy Center features a variety of space-age, interactive exhibits as well as an IMAX-style theater.
The Art of Film
Year in and year out, Hawaii contributes its vast natural resources to the art of film, providing settings and backdrops that are truly beyond compare. More than 60 box office features – including South Pacific, King Kong, and Jurassic Park – have been shot on the island of Kauai alone and Oahu is currently home base for the re-born Hawaii 5-0. No matter where you travel in the islands, you’re likely to see film crews, actors, and actresses, and in several cases, it’s possible to take tours of famous locations.
The Art of Hula
When words fail, they turn to a more ancient art of communication to express the beauty of Hawaii. Hula is as much an expression of Hawaiian life as it is a spiritual language. Local children and adults learn hula in schools called halau and the dance is performed at parties and celebrations on an almost daily basis throughout the islands. If you’re lucky, you’ll visit the islands during one of the many hula competitions or cultural festivals.
Other Forms of Dance in Hawaii
The Hawaiian Islands provide a setting in which to witness, not just Hawaii’s hula, but also the dances of New Zealand, Samoa, Tahiti, and other Pacific islands. Hawaii’s dancers also celebrate a wide range of contemporary expressions, from hip-hop to jazz, ballroom, and postmodern. What’s more, there is also a thriving classical dance company – Hawaii Ballet Theatre – that has a repertory of eight full-length ballets, seven one-act ballets, and 38 shorter works. The HBT also dances with the Royal Hawaiian Band and offers an annual presentation of The Nutcracker at Christmas time.