In this first post from our series of updates about our community and organizational partners in 2021 we are excited to bring to you news from Hawai‘i Contemporary (HC, formerly Honolulu Biennial), which connects communities from across the Hawai’ian islands and regions united by the Pacific Ocean and beyond. As a collaborative arts partner, HC cultivates cultural alliances to showcase the Hawai’i Triennial every three years and to celebrate contemporary art and ideas with a global outreach. The multi-site public exhibition is complemented by year-round public programs contributing to the Hawai’i arts ecosystem including educational outreach programs and professional development opportunities for the local arts community.
We have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Hawai‘i Contemporary, including our partnership in 2017 with then Honolulu Biennial to present a preview performance of The Story of Everything (TSOE) by Kealoha, Hawaiʻi’s first Poet Laureate and MIT Nuclear Physics graduate (a film of TSOE, produced and directed by Engaging the Senses Foundation is now in final post-production. Please stay tuned!) At Honolulu Biennial 2019, in conjunction with our partner Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) and the Honolulu Museum of Art, we sponsored a cohort of NACF National Artist Fellows in an ongoing commitment to bringing Indigenous issues to light in national and international venues. Then, as now, Hawai‘i Contemporary provides a platform that intentionally promotes the voices of Indigenous artists, allowing for deepened discourse where Native perspectives can enter into dialogue and debate amongst artists and guests from around the world.
This year, we are again delighted to help support Hawaiʻi Contemporary as they present the inaugural Hawaiʻi Contemporary Art Summit 2021, a multi-day event that brings together renowned keynote speakers, artists, curators, and thinkers from Hawai‘i and around the world for educational programming focused on art and ideas. The summit, scheduled for February 10–13, will be available for on-demand viewing for a limited time, and is FREE to the public. Registration is required.
A thematic precursor to the Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 (HT22), Art Summit 2021 is a series of insightful and compelling talks, performances, film screenings, and workshops that situates Hawai‘i at the center of high-caliber, global discourse around contemporary art and ideas to local and international audiences. The keynote conversation that begins the summit is between Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 curatorial director Melissa Chiu and famed artist and activist Ai Wei Wei, recipient of the 2015 Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International and the 2012 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent from the Human Rights Foundation. Ai Weiwei is renowned for making strong aesthetic statements that resonate with timely phenomena across today’s geopolitical world, using a wide range of mediums— from architecture to installations, social media to documentaries— as expressions of new ways for his audiences to examine society and its values.
The entire lineup offers a wealth of knowledge and learning, as profound thinkers, artists, creators, and doers who are powerfully addressing environmental challenges, urgent social issues, and the relevance and beauty of Indigenous voices, bring both new and age-old clarity to an increasingly challenged global reality.