The museum’s collections managers oversee the movement of artwork to and from the vaults, and the reorganization of works within those vaults—they know the collections inside and out. Collections manager Celeste Ohta has also worked at the University of Hawai‘i Art Department Art Gallery, the Mayor’s Office on Culture and the Arts and Shangri La: A Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design—for 25 years she’s been handling artwork at Honolulu institutions.
With so much knowledge about Hawai‘i’s art, we were especially curious to find out which artwork in the HoMA collection is her favorite. Her answer? The Imperial Korean screens Cranes and Peaches.
“I love the imagery in these screens, I think they’re very beautiful,” says Ohta. “They had previously been quite damaged by insects, so it was sent to Korea for conservation around 2007. If you saw what they looked like before conservation you would understand how much work was done to restore them. Everything depicted in this work carries a great deal of symbolism—the cranes and peaches are both symbols of longevity.”
Cranes and Peaches is on view at Spalding House in the exhibition HoMA SELECT, through June 25.
Cranes and Peaches (Haehakbandodo).
Korea, Chosŏn dynasty (1392-1910), dated 1842 or 1902.
Pair of six-fold screens; ink, color and gold on silk.