Ho‘oulu: The Inspiration of Hula

Posted on Sep 30, 2013 in Blog Post, Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions

Ho‘oulu: The Inspiration of Hula

About the Exhibit

September 4, 2009 – July 17, 2010

This exhibit honored the art of hula, featuring work from the Art in Public Places Collection, along with hula implements and objects from the Bishop Museum and the Hula Preservation Society.

An exhibit that honored the art of hula, featuring work from the Art in Public Places Collection, along with hula implements and objects from the Bishop Museum and the Hula Preservation Society. A special feature of the exhibition was a display of 70 original photographic portraits of Kumu Hula by Shuzo Uemoto, taken for the book Nana I Na Loea Hula (Look to the Hula Resources). Kapa makers Moana Eisele and Ka‘iulani de Silva loaned costumes from their collections; and artist Solomon Enos loaned original renderings he created to illustrate the book, The Epic of Hi‘iakaikapoliopele, for exhibition.

The exhibition was designed to mimic the ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree, a tree beloved by and associated with the hula deities. The parts of the tree and the associated works are described in more detail here.

One of the origins of hula is portrayed in the roots or mole section via the epic saga of Hi‘iakaikapoliopele, illustrated through paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculpture. Illustrating the “roots” of the exhibition, works shown by Louis Pohl, LeVan Keola Sequeira, Jean Charlot, Hiko‘ula Hanapi, and Jim Mack.

The trunk or kumu section features the kumu (hula masters) who have preserved and cultivated the hula arts and the knowledge behind it. Illustrating the “trunk” of the exhibition, works shown by Franco Salmoiraghi, Joseph Feher, Deborah Robinson, Francis Haar, Jean Charlot, and Pat Kaimoku Pinē.

The branches or lālā section contains the portraits of loea hula (hula resources) who are featured in Nānā I Nā Loea Hula: Look to the Hula Resources, Volume 1; a publication by the Kalihi-Pālama Culture and Arts Society, Inc. To complement the still images, the Hula Preservation Society, in partnership with the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, produced a video of interviews that they have conducted with 20 of the loea hula. The video is shown in the gallery. Illustrating the “branches” of the exhibition, works shown by Shuzo Uemoto.

The products of the kumu and lālā are the hua (fruits) and pua (flowers). This section includes representations of dances, as the fruits, and dancers, as the flowers. Illustrating the “fruits and flowers,” works shown by Al Kahekiliuila Lagunero, Marijcke Christianson, and Lark Dimond-Cates. Hula implements on loan from Bishop Museum and the Hula Preservation Society.