Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
EXHIBIT: Hawai’i Nei Invitational: Nā ʻAumākua
The Volcano Art Center (VAC) is proud to announce that its 2020 exhibition schedule will resume after many Covid-19 related disruptions. The Hawaiʻi Nei Invitational Exhibition, this year titled, Nā ʻAumākua will be on display from August 8th – September 13th from 9am – 4pm, Wednesday – Sunday at the VAC gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
The multi-media exhibition showcases eight outstanding artists who were selected by members of the Three Mountain Alliance Foundation (TMAF) Board of Directors, a partnering group to the annual Hawai’i Nei Art Contest celebrating Hawai`i Island’s native species. The 2019 selectees including Kathleen Carr, Ken Charon, Phyllis Cullen, Lanaya Deily, Cheri Groom, Sarah Martinsen, Roslyn Moresh, and Claire Seastone were asked to create works specifically for Nā ʻAumākua.
In Hawaiian mythology, an ʻaumākua is known as a family or personal god, often a deified ancestor. As cited by Beckwith, “ ʻaumākua frequently assume the shape of sharks (all islands except Kauaʻi), owls (as at Mānoa, O’ahu and Kaʻū and Puna, Hawaiʻi), hawks (Hawaiʻi), ʻelepaio, iʻiwi, mudhens, octopuses, eels, mice, rats, dogs, caterpillars, rocks, cowries, clouds, or plants. A symbiotic relationship existed; mortals did not harm or eat ʻaumākua and ʻaumākua warned and reprimanded mortals in dreams, visions, and calls. The role of the ʻaumākua is often referred to as that of a guardian, helping in times of trouble and providing inspiration, strength or protection in times of need. An ʻaumākua could manifest itself in varying forms such as a sea turtle, a lizard, or any other animal, plant or mineral. Family members are said to recognize theirʻaumākua, no matter what form it takes. The ancestral god might appear in a dream to furnish guidance or spiritual strength in difficult times. When a fisherman or craftsman was especially successful, credit was often given to their ʻaumākua for intervening and enabling an earthly being to develop such skill.
“The resulting body of work honors with fondness and reverence this unique Hawaiian concept, as well the physical manifestation of the form taken by each ʻaumākua”, states gallery manager Emily C. Weiss. “Some artists are depicting their own personal or familial ʻaumākua, while others are choosing to interpret the relationship of humans to the natural environment.”
The Nā ʻAumākua exhibition can be viewed at the VAC gallery which is currently following all CDC guidelines and social distancing protocol. Be prepared to wear a mask and keep a safe 6 ft. distance from others within the gallery. Additionally, VAC gallery is maintaining a max. occupancy of 10 people within the gallery at one time (you may be asked to wait outside if the gallery is full), hand sanitizer at the entrance, and regular cleaning of highly touched surfaces by VAC staff and volunteers. VAC will not hold an opening reception on August 8th.