Today was an amazing day filled with beautiful art, lovely people, sun drenched beaches and delicious food - what more could you want?
We started our day quite early and headed to the Contemporary Museum of Art to meet Maria's friend Ramona and her sister-in-law Lenore. The main artists exhibiting were the Biennial of Hawai'i Artists X, featuring Mary Babcock, Solomon Enos, Jaisy Hanlon, Jianjie Ji, Sally Lundburg and Bruna Stude.
My favourite was Sally Lundburg for her ecological installation featuring Koa tree stumps and archival photographs and other multimedia. According to the artist: "My work bridges collage techniques with documentary sensibilities. The exploration involved in collecting material allows me to engage, collaborate, and interact with the people and natural environments that surround me. Investigating family histories, local lore and cultural mythology, I'm looking for moments of human connection and collision with the natural and super natural worlds. Personal histories are shifting and dynamic, depending in the stories and memories revealed. Weaving together photographs, film footage, archival images and text, I use the landscape as a metaphor to explore areas of contradiction, entanglement, fragility and resilience". It really resonated with me - not only aesthetically but also in terms of the subject matter.
Jaisy Hanlon did an illuminating piece that was also ecologically inspired with metal laser cutouts of birds on the wall and a projection of the moon. Solomon Enos' canvases were inspired by his work in the community - where he worked in Makaha with youth and adults helping them overcome difficulties with substance abuse by reconnecting to Hawaiian society through traditional culture and maintaining community gardens. His works - a collection titled "From Stars to Stars: An Indigenous Perspective on Human Evolution", draw on his native Hawaiian cultural upbringing and his passion for sci-fi an popular astrophysics, from which he has "always sought to merge the genre of science fiction with indigenous and aboriginal beliefs, and from this desire, birthed a concept called Polyfantastica". I liked his polymorphous forms and the use of colour in his canvases.
Jianjie Ji did an installation on the wall consisting of shark teeth, called "Lost" which, to me, resembled a constellation of Pacific Islands as seen from a plane!
In a separate building is the trippy kaleidoscopic David Hockney exhibition - the stage set he painted for the opera "L'enfant et les Sortileges". The luminous colours and playful walls were fun and we felt like children - taking numerous photos and re-enacting pretend opera scenes.
We strolled in the gallery's gardens full of sculptures, installations and murals. Many of the tree trunks and branches in the grounds were "dressed" in whimsical, striped and brightly coloured "socks". There were even tiny, miniature knitted magic mushrooms "growing" in the shadows of the some of the trees! It was like walking through a delightfully magical treasure hunt.
Lunch was at the Gallery Cafe, where I tried snails for the first time! Delicious! I also had a passion fruit cheesecake for dessert. Mmmmm. The girls and I chatted easily about the art we'd seen and the art we like to make. Maria is a prolific creator of art of the heart (as I call it). Ramona loves to draw and paint and is looking at increasing the time she spends on her art - focusing more on her textile design with a view to opening a business. Lenore has just recently had a solo exhibition in San Francisco - to critical acclaim. Even the waiter - a gorgeous recent photography graduate - chatted to us at length about art and how tough it is to make a living as an artist in Hawaii.
After we said our goodbyes, Maria and I drove up Tantalus Drive along a ridge overlooking Honolulu and Diamondhead below. The road was extremely narrow and winding - full of switchback curves - and flanked by villas, walls of luscious tropical plants towering bamboos and umbrella trees creating dappled sunlight. We stopped at the top of the drive and admired the stunning vistas below. The sun, sea and fresh breeze has miraculous properties!
The afternoon was spent down at Ala Moana beach where Trisha taught me how to swim the front crawl and be more confident in the ocean water. She's an amazing swimming instructor and was very encouraging. It's a combination of both physical (knowing how to position yourself in the water and how to do the strokes for optimum performance) and mental (regulating your breathing and understanding your relationship with the water). We watched the sunset on yet another beautiful day in Hawaii and then went to Trisha's house for dinner overlooking Pearl Harbour. Sigh, what a lovely day spent in the company of wonderful, positive and creative people.