Hawaii and its Unrecognized Art Scene

When you close your eyes and think about Hawaii, you likely think of soft sand beaches, sun-bronzed surfers, and coconut trees swaying in gentle Pacific breezes. A vibrant art scene does not come to mind for most people who live outside the islands. But just outside of the tourist-filled beaches and glistening sands you will find a love for culture and nature found in Hawaiian art, and a loyalty to tradition combined with the curiosity of worldly artists.

Hawaii is home to spectacular scenery and inspiration, and there are artists who are moved by their surroundings to create works of art. However, since most of the art produced is designed for the tourism industry, one will find beach and coffee plantation prints on every corner. Many would believe that there is truly no good contemporary art to be found here. This is not true. Hawaii is intense, and everything seems larger or bolder here: waves, mountains, the sunset…even the colors seem brighter. You simply need to know where to look for stunning examples of artistry here.

Pow! Wow! Hawaii

In its seventh season, this celebration of large-than-life murals and installations, many of which will remain only until the next annual event, when they will be replaced by new scenes. This event adds art and music panel discussions to educate new artists and art students, along with outreach programs in art and music for inspiring future artists, in hopes they will participate in Pow! Wow! Hawaii presentations in the future.

Visitors can walk along the streets while the murals are being painted, as they are contained in the central Kaka’ako district of Honolulu. For a more vacation-inspired method of enjoyment, consider a ride of Paradise Pedals’ 15-passenger bike art tour.

Art Hawaii International

Styled upon the idea of Basel worldwide, this contemporary and modern art fair was established with the goal of creating a unique art experience, never seen before in Hawaii. This inaugural event, set for November 2-5, 2017 at the Hawaii Convention Center, includes curated booths, on-site installations, art panel talks and lectures, and uses integrated technology to improve the experience and draw attention to technology in art itself. Art Hawaii International will host 85 participating galleries and it is estimated that upwards of 20,000 visitors will attend this premier affair.  The fair will include an exhibition showcasing Hawaiian artists, and film presentations from the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Hawai‘i State Art Museum

Located in the No. 1 Capital District Building is the state-owned museum. Focusing on contemporary artists connected to Hawaii, the museum provides much of the artwork displayed in public facilities in Hawaii, and includes temporary exhibitions, community events and activities, and tours.

Honolulu Museum of Art

Built from a small arts academy established in 1927 by the Cooke family, this collection outgrew the family’s needs and the museum was started in the same location as their family home. Beginning with nearly 500 works, it has grown to over 50,000 pieces of art spanning 5,000 years, and is considered one of the most beautiful museums in the world.

Hawaiian Artists

One distinguishing factor found in many young contemporary Hawaiian artists is dedication to environmental concerns, nature and the conservation of Hawaii’s natural resources. One exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art in 2016 titled “Plastic Fantastic” focused on the usefulness of plastic, showcasing it in artwork exhibited, and also in its effect on global culture and environment. One artist, native Hawaiian artist Maika’i Tubbs, uses items found in NYC trash to create art supplies from whatever he locates, contemplating the use of disposable things in valuable ways. Jerry Vasconcellos, a nature sculptor from Hawaii, creates pieces from basalt and native Hawaiian woods, connecting with the land he loves.

Discover Beautiful Works in a Beautiful Place

The next time you consider the beautiful beaches of Hawaii as the “perfect” getaway, be sure to visit some of the most breathtaking man-made features found among the islands. Due to its more remote and tropical location, you will find many museum-quality works here for an affordable price, undiscovered by collectors. Attend some of the exciting events and simply take in an uncrowded, rich selection of artwork found within the splendor of the Hawaiian Islands.

Sybaris Collection focuses on the promotion of diverse cultural heritages through art and design. Let us help you discover unique artwork found in rich cultures, along with the entire process of procuring, shipping, displaying, and the legwork involved in establishing (or adding to) your art collection.