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Hawai'i Contemporary Announces Art Summit 2021

Featuring Theaster Gates, Ai Weiwei, and more.

Hawai'i Contemporary Announces Art Summit 2021

Hawai'i Contemporary (formerly the Honolulu Biennial Foundation) presents the first iteration of the Art Summit 2021, a precursor to the Hawai'i Triennial 2022 (HT22), which takes the Triennial theme of Pacific Century - E Ho'omau no Moananuiākea to explore the juncture between the Pacific and the Continental US, functioning as an important spatial and ideological gateway between site and histories.

The Art Summit is guest curated by Dr. Melissa Chiu and HT22 associate curators Dr. Miwako Tezuka and Drew Kahu'āina Broderick, to provide a public opportunity to introduce participating local, regional and international contemporary artists to the Hawai'i community. This multi-day, virtual event is free online and open to the public; registration is required.

"This celebration of diversity, culture and histories, highlights the work of Hawai'i Contemporary as a cultural connector within the Islands. The event is an example of how in the challenging times of the pandemic, the arts bring together communities," stated Karen Ewald, Director of the Art in Public Places Program and the Hawai'i State Art Museum.

The Art Summit celebrates the visual arts in tandem with cultural partners across Hawai'i and is an essential meeting point for creatives and art lovers. The Hawai'i State Art Museum, a lead sponsor and presenting partner, is proud to co-present 'Ohana Day, a series of virtual events for families, keiki, and young adults that explore contemporary art and ideas of our time, including youth activists Nikkya Taliaferro and Kawika Pegram. As part of this special event, arts educators lead hands-on workshops that align with HT22 themes focusing on climate awareness and indigenous cultures, including local chefs Mark Noguchi and Kevin Carvalho, who will present a family-friendly cooking demonstration that talks about the important connection between 'āina (land), ocean, and food.

"This inaugural Art Summit reflects some of the urgent cultural issues being explored in the upcoming Hawai'i Triennial 2022. Through the voices of artists and theorists from Hawai'i and beyond we are able to offer insights into themes that straddle the Asia-Pacific and the United States around the Pacific Century and its cultural meaning," said HT22 curatorial director Chiu.

Internationally renowned artists Ai Weiwei and Theaster Gates, and scholar Homi K. Bhabha, will have keynote conversations with Chiu, curatorial director of HT22 and director of the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Participating alongside the keynotes are Eating in Public (Gaye Chan), 'Elepaio Press (Mark Hamasaki and Richard Hamasaki), Léuli Eshrāghi, Karrabing Film Collective (Elizabeth A. Povinelli), Piliāmo'o (Mark Hamasaki and Kapulani Landgraf), Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Nā Maka o ka 'Āina (Joan Lander), Navid Najafi, and more. The discussions will be followed by live sessions with expert commentators contributing further insight into the Art Summit's themes and providing an opportunity for audience engagement.

Commentators include the Hawai'i Contemporary artistic directors Fumio Nanjo, Senior Advisor to the Mori Art Museum; former Honolulu Biennial 2019 curator Nina Tonga, Curator Pacific Art, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; former Honolulu Biennial 2019 assistant curator Josh Tengan, Curator, Pu'uhonua Society, Nā Mea Hawai'i; Dr. Louise Bernard, Director, Obama Presidential Center Museum at The Obama Foundation; Dr. Halona Norton-Westbrook, Director and CEO, Honolulu Museum of Art; Jaimey Hamilton Faris, Associate Professor of Critical Theory and Art History, University at Hawai'i at Mānoa; Miwako Tezuka, HT22 Associate Curator and Associate Director, Reversible Destiny Foundation; Dr. Akiemi Glenn, Founder & Executive Director, The Pōpolo Project; Céline Semaan-Vernon, Founder and Creative Director, Slow Factory Foundation; Xiaoyu Weng, The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and more. View the full Art Summit and 'Ohana Day schedule here.


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