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EHCC Exhibit Explores Tension Between Modern And Traditional

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How can Native Hawaiians reconcile the contradictions between the traditions of their culture and the contemporary ideals of a monetized society? Is it possible to express one’s native heritage, reclaim lost identity and at the same time accept new ways?

Work by Ian Kuali‘i: hand-cut paper with painted verso portraits (Haunani-Kay and Mililani Trask); and installation Kūkulu Kumuhana, and monotype prints by Kala‘i Blakemore, Sending and Taking Series. (Photo courtesy of Andrzej Kramarz)

Those and other difficult questions are at the core of an exhibit on display throughout April and most of May at the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center in downtown Hilo.

Through “Kilo I Ka Mo‘o,” four artists ⚊ Ian Kuali‘i, Kala‘i Blakemore, Laura Dunn and Nainoa Rosehill ⚊ examine these questions through mixed media, photography, printmaking and hand-cut paper. Their work is accompanied by audio of oli performed by kumu Ulupuamahinamaikalani Peleiholani Blankenfeld-Kaheiki, with sound design by Ezri Weiss.

The exhibition is curated by Kanani Daley.

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“Kilo is a term used to describe observations … It mainly references stargazers or navigators as they looked to the heavens to chart their course,” said Blankenfeld-Kaheiki in a press release. “(It also means asking) the observer to look at something with keen and earnest eyes … It is only then that we can get the true ‘mo‘o’ (mo‘olelo): the story or history of something. ‘Kilo I Ka Mo‘o’ is a calling to open yourself to the history and stories of a place … It’s the ability to coexist with a place and continue to perpetuate its mana through tales and observations of change throughout time and space.”

“Kilo I Ka Mo‘o” will be on view until May 27. Admission to the gallery is free.

For more information, visit EHCC online, call 961-5711 or visit the cultural center at 141 Kalakaua St. in Hilo. Current gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.

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