Hawai'i State News

Hawaiʻi State Art Museum opens new exhibit ‘Creatures and Characters’

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L-R: “Little Bird and Her Little Bird Dog” ceramic sculptures by Johannette Rowley (2019), “Mexican Mother and Child” lithographic print by Jean Charlot (1948), “Phyllis Dobson” oil painting by Diego Rivera (1943). (Photo courtesy: Art in Public Places Collection of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts)

The Hawaiʻi State Art Museum in Honolulu has opened its new exhibit: “Creatures and Characters.”

Museum visitors are invited to explore 44 artworks by 39 artists in the ʻEwa gallery on the second floor. Through a diverse mix of media and artistic approaches, the depictions of creatures and characters suggest stories and ideas that unfold in surprising, unusual, and amusing ways.

This exhibit, which runs throughout the summer of 2024, is intended for all ages, with a special focus on students in the museum’s Art Bento program for Hawaiʻi public and charter schools.


The Hawaiʻi State Art Museum is a learning laboratory for thousands of elementary school students every year in the Art Bento program, using artworks to practice observation, critical thinking, and communication skills. 

“Mixed Swamp Exhibit” archival inkjet print by Phil Jung, 2012. (Photo courtesy: Art in Public Places Collection of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts)

Some artworks are recent additions to the collection, on display to the public for the first time:

  • “Aloha Wear(y)” archival inkjet print by Brandon Ng
  • “Bessemer Bubbles” intaglio and monoprint print by Katya Hutchinson
  • “Artisan Slaves” mixed media by Rodrigo Manzano
  • “Living Landscape 2” and “Living Landscape 3” drawings by Solomon Enos
  • “Confrontation in the Garden of the Chinese Poet” ceramic sculpture by Suzanne Wolfe

“Creatures and Characters” also features two significant gifts to the state collection: a painting by prominent Mexican painter Diego Rivera, “Phyllis Dobson”, gifted to the state by Dobson (well known as an interior designer under her married name, Phyllis Hume Spalding, she was involved in the restoration of ʻIolani Palace and the design of the Hawaiʻi State Capitol building), and a lithographic print by renowned artist, teacher, and playwright Jean Charlot, “Mexican Mother and Child” (gifted to the state by the Seiji and Ayako Ifuku Estate).


Artworks from the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts ’s Art in Public Places Collection are displayed in state government sites across the state, including schools, libraries, and state office buildings. For over fifty years, the Art in Public Places Collection of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts has been recognized as one of the most significant collections of contemporary art of Hawaiʻi. 

The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and is closed on Sunday and state and federal holidays.

Admission is free. The Hawaiʻi State Art Museum and the Art in Public Places Collection are a part the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts’ Art in Public Places Program.

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