Awakening Flower Exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art
GImmersed in blossoms – could there be anything more ethereal? Entering the new “Awakening” exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art is a dreamy endeavor, with strings of flowers of all types and colors dangling high up from the ceiling as if floating in mid-air. As you stroll down the corridor of dried branches, you can’t help but feel a sense of calm. Is it the gently shifting botanicals that blend into one another as you move like an ombre of herbs, a strange sort of pantomime of the seasons? Or is it the way they defy gravity, suspended by their strings, a nexus of frozen buds with you at their center. If an explosion of blossoms happened around you and then that moment stopped forever, what would you hear in the silence? what would you see in the silence You’ll want to keep walking through these floral curtains to find out.
The exhibition is the first Hawaiian installation by British artist Rebecca Louise Law, who has continued to create immersive installations across Europe and the United States, utilizing her signature aesthetic of delicately draped and serpentine-strung natural materials. The Honolulu installation uses more than a million flowers. To achieve this massive number, Law drew from her own collection of dried plants, recycled from previous exhibitions around the world, and also incorporated new Hawaiian plants and found materials. In fact, 50,000 flowers were collected or donated by the Hawaiian community, including bougainvillea, bozu, gardenia, kukui, pīkake, puakenikeni, and Spanish moss.
Working with sustainability in mind, Law hopes that these “contemplative” spaces, adorned with blooms so painstakingly and carefully preserved, strung and hung, will provide opportunities for viewers to slow down and reflect on nature’s fragility and ultra-fast pace to think about modern consumer culture. And where better to sing this message than on the islands? Like the flower collectors and lei-makers who pour their time and aloha into each bloom, Law’s floral display — collected and hung with the help of local community groups — is an ode to and a celebration of the power of flowers: the way you can help us to tap into ourselves, to make ourselves feel and to remember the connections that exist between our hearts, our bodies, our minds and the many other brilliant creations in this natural world around us.
● The exhibition is located on the second floor of the museum in galleries 12 and 13 and will be open for one year. Look for elevators with the Awakening image.
● General museum admission is $20. Admission for Hawaii residents is $10 and under 18s are free.
● The museum is open on Thursdays and Sundays from 10 am to 6 pm; 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and closed Monday to Wednesday.
● Don’t miss the accompanying exhibition in Gallery 27 (between the Doris Duke Theater entrance and the gift shop) entitled Cross Pollination: Flowers Across the Collection. This curation of pieces from the museum’s permanent collection explores “the emotional, psychological, and spiritual resonance of flowers in art.” On display are Native American beadwork, Japanese screens and art canvases, including the iconic The Lei Maker.
900 S. Beretania St., (808) 532-8700, honolulumuseum.org.
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