‘Ghosts of War’ to be on exhibit through February and March at East Hawai‘i Cultural Center in Hilo

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The consequences of armed conflict — and how they weave themselves into our lives — provide the backdrop for the latest exhibit at the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center in Downtown Hilo.

“Ghosts of War” will be on exhibit from Feb. 3 through March 31 at the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center in Downtown Hilo. Photos courtesy of the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center.

“Ghosts of War” opens at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 and features the work of five women artists in a range of mediums and narratives telling each of their stories. The work will be on exhibit until March 31.

“The exceptional artists presented here encourage us to reflect on the topic of war and ask ourselves important questions,” said East Hawai‘i Cultural Center Gallery Director Andrzej Kramarz in a press release. “Conflicts and their results are not limited by geography. They influence us much more than we think, in more ways than we expect, and they are closer than we suppose.”

In her film “Letter to a Turtledove,” Dana Kavelina combines amateur footage from the internet shot subsequent to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 with archival footage of Donbas from 1930, when the region was a hot spot for Stalinist industrialization. Her poetic text recombines the disparate materials into a surreal anti-war poem, noting the distortion of history and the dehumanization of the entire Ukrainian region.


A survivor of the 1975-90 Lebanese Civil War, painter Reem Bassous, who now lives in Hawai‘i, evokes memories from her youth with her contributions to the exhibit, placing her personal experiences in the context of historical unrest, including traumas from ancient and modern Beirut and the inhabitants of her hometown.

The poster for “Ghosts of War” captures a detail from work by Reem Bassous.

“Gamma Trace,” the subtle work of Polish artist Monika Niwelinska, was created in the desert in New Mexico, approximately 60 miles north of White Sand National Monument. On July 16, 1945, under the codename Trinity Site, the first atomic tests in history were carried out there. The artist investigates whether the land in this area is still radioactive, using photosensitive copper plates and exposing them to gamma rays in the radioactive field.

Gongsan Kim, a Korean artist who has lived in the United States since 1997, pays tribute to the victims of the North Korean regime in her works. Her ritual performance involves making layered sculptures — altar-like images envisioned to heal the wounded spirits of the murdered victims of the dictatorship, thrown into collective pits without tombstones or names.


“The Morphology of War” by Svitlana Biedarieva focuses on the idea that each society gives birth to its own monsters. Biedarieva uses images from European illuminated manuscripts and bestiaries, reinterpreting them digitally, implying that the absurdity of history does not change with centuries.

For more information about the exhibit, visit the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center website, call 961-5711 or visit the center at 141 Kalākaua St. in Hilo. Current gallery and office hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

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