Celebrate Art at Honolulu Biennial

It’s well known that art is good for your physical health and overall well-being.

Whether you’re painting, woodworking, sculpting, or weaving, art can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and exercise the creative side of your brain. It can also give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction to create something original that you can share with others.

Since I can’t even draw a straight line, my brush (no pun intended) with art is mainly as a spectator. I love visiting the Honolulu Museum of Art and galleries in other cities around the world during my travels. An afternoon of exploring galleries is relaxing and expands my knowledge and appreciation of art.

So when the first Honolulu Biennial opened this spring, I made a point to check it out. The Biennial features paintings, photographs, installations, and other works from 33 contemporary artists throughout Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region. It brings different cultures together in one show.

Woodblock print A‘hole by Jane Chang Mi

I spent a rainy Sunday afternoon strolling through The Hub, which is one of the Biennial locations. It was a surreal experience. I felt like I was being transported to different places and times. Each piece of art triggered a different response. Some were thought-provoking; others were amusing. There are short films and documentaries, an activity for young people whose creations can be displayed, and performances by local musicians.

Expand your cultural mind this weekend at the Honolulu Biennial. It’s the last weekend to view the show. For more information, visit the Honolulu Biennial website.

Billboard I by Hawaii artist Drew Broderick. Billboard advertisements are prohibited in Hawaii. This large billboard is in response to George Carter’s historical painting depicting the death of Captain Cook in Hawaii.

Target Island and Target Island 2 by New Zealand artist Brett Graham. Four large rondels made of fiberglass-reinforced concrete represent the obsolete U.S. Air Force calibration charts. The sculptures are placed at the four directions of the compass: north, south, east and west, and represent indigenous knowledge.

Water Column is a new commission by Hawaii artist Michelle Schwengel-Regala. This is one of three hand-knitted, metal wire water column sculptures inspired by scientific expeditions and ocean water sampling in the Pacific Ocean.

Crystal Palace: the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations by Ken and Julia Yonetani. This is one in a set of four chandeliers made of uranium glass that illuminate a fluorescent glow. Each chandelier represents a country (U.S., Japan, China, and Taiwan). The size of the chandelier corresponds to the number of nuclear power plants each country has.

Graffiti Nature is an interactive digital installation where youth can create images and scan and project them on the floor. It teaches children about the food chain and law of the jungle.

Top photo: Unwritten #1 by Vernon Ah Kee