This Is Hawai'i

May 21, 2011 - June 25, 2011


Transformer, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), presents This IS Hawai`i – a comprehensive two-site exhibition of new and experimental art works by a diverse group of Hawai`i’s leading contemporary artists, Solomon Enos, Puni Kukahiko, Carl F. K. Pao and Maika'i Tubbs. This IS Hawai`i marks the participating artists’ first exhibition in the nation’s capital.

Actively exploring their indigenous Hawaiian history and its intersection with contemporary society, This IS Hawai`i artists explore – through site-specific installation, artistic actions, and public programs – what it means to be "Hawaiian" in the 21st century. Designed as a two-site exhibition, the work of Solomon Enos and Carl F. K. Pao are presented at the NMAI’s Sealaska Gallery, and the work of Maika`i Tubbs is presented at Transformer, with artist Puni Kukahiko’s site-specific outdoor sculptures presented at both locations, tying the whole exhibition  together. The exhibition will be presented in tandem with NMAI's annual Hawai`i Festival.

Developed by independent curator Isabella E. Hughes – with input from cultural advisor Marques Hanalei Marzan and Transformer’s Executive & Artistic Director Victoria Reis – the design and scope of this exhibition aim to challenge audiences to rethink their own understanding of Hawaiian culture by highlighting some of Hawai`i’s most dynamic contemporary artistic talents. Highlighting both Transformer’s and the NMAI’s commitment to promoting the expression of contemporary art, this presentation of This IS Hawai`i reflects an exhibition partnership
that is becoming a model for collaboration among cultural organizations across the U.S. and internationally. Seeking to grow audiences for emergent visual expression, as well as the work of contemporary indigenous artists, This IS Hawai`i allows both organizations to expand their missions while building synergy within the cultural infrastructure of D.C. and the larger arts community.