Art connections: Waimea Education Hui art exhibit showcases students’ tribute to Hokulea
WAIMEA — The annual Waimea Educational Hui’s art exhibit will open Tuesday at Isaacs Art Center. A celebration of Hokulea’s World Wide Voyage, the Lei Kaapuni Honua (Lei Around the World) exhibit honors connections made by the double-hulled canoe while on her journey, as well as connections within the Waimea community.
Now in its fifth year, the free exhibit is sponsored through the Waimea Education Hui, a voluntary group formed in 2007 comprised of area educators, representatives from all Waimea schools and cultural practitioners.
“(The hui) holds our community so dear and the cultural legacy that has been left for us to perpetuate and practice,” said Pua Case, a hui member and the art exhibit’s coordinator.
The exhibit will include works from all Waimea schools grades K-12.
“One purpose of the exhibit is to truly spread the message to the students and the community that we are all one school, and try to provide cultural learning opportunities to keep the legacy of Waimea alive,” she said.
The focus of this year’s show extends connections within the Waimea community and out into the world.
“The theme is the last leg of the voyage. It focuses on what our community is connected to and that’s the crew members we honored on April 12. We want to keep the momentum, the prayer and the voyage of the Hokulea ever-present. This is their (students) voyage and we want to make it possible for them to look back and say, ‘wow, that was my voyage. I was here when that happened.’ When we have history being made through and by our community, we should all know that,” said Case.
Made possible through a Richard Smart Fund grant, the exhibit is also a tribute to Smart’s legacy.
“I know Richard Smart would be thrilled that we are honoring our community and bringing schools together. We are living the legacy that he laid out. He believed in it through everything he did,” she said.
The exhibit also “provides our students with the opportunity to showcase their own work in a professional setting. This is our way of saying if you have a skill, a love, a passion for art you can do anything. You can hang your art in a professional exhibit,” said Case.
The idea for the annual art show began at Kanu o ka Aina.
“Luana Zablan, who graduated in 2011, wanted to do an art exhibit for her senior project from her art, and art around Kanu. I try to incorporate art into my language arts classes and that’s kind of how it all started. A lot of the pieces that were displayed were created in my class,” said Kanoa Castro, Kanu high school’s language arts teacher.
The exhibit gave Case a spark of an idea.
“Pua came and saw it and thought it would be really great to incorporate more students and the community, doing this on a large scale,” said Castro.
The legacy continues this year with senior Keliko Hurley, who will attend Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand.
“Keliko Hurley has taken it on for her senior project. She helped to organize and do the mural in the gym. Students Pre-K through 12 worked on it. Students from charter schools all over the state came for a conference and they worked on it too,” said Castro.
The exhibit will also give the community the chance to see the talent and creativity of students. While it has been at Kahilu Theatre the previous four years, this year’s show will be hosted by the Isaacs Art Center.
“We are honored to host the Malama Honua art exhibit in celebration of Hokulea’s return to Hawaii. The Isaacs Art Center extends our warm welcome to our community artists — students, teachers and families — in the spirit of collaboration, creativity, compassion and ‘caring for our earth’ that is so beautifully expressed in the art of Lei Kaapuni Honua,” said Mollie Hustace, the Center’s curator.
Jennifer Brian, one of the founding members of the Waimea Education Hui, will work with Hurley and others to install the exhibit, which will be displayed in the middle two galleries on the walls and pedestals.
There is a wide range of mediums, with each submission highlighting the artist’s unique perspective on this year’s theme. It includes a cardboard and paper sculpture with many sails together on the sea; an illustrated book; graphite pencil portraits; a ceramic vase illustrated with the canoe sailing before the volcano; many kappa designs and acrylic paintings.
The Waimea Educational Hui provides many programs throughout the year, but “the art exhibit is one of the mainstays, so that the community has something that they look forward to every year. The art exhibit takes students out of their own campus. It allows them the space to go and visit and see a place in town that they may not normally go to,” said Case.
And to make new connections in the community and beyond.
Isaacs Art Center is open 10 am-5 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. Info: 885-5884