Last week, curator James Jensen visited Masami Teraoka’s studio in Waimānalo as we enter the homestretch to the May 30 opening of Feast of Fools: The Triptych Paintings of Masami Teraoka.

The museum has been working with Teraoka on an exhibition concept for more than seven years, and we’re honored to finally present selections from the artist’s ongoing, probing oeuvre Cloisters Last Supper—Triptych Series. 

Masami Teraoka makes his own self-described "funky" palettes by covering board with plastic.

Masami Teraoka makes his own self-described “funky” palettes by covering board with plastic.

These large, golden works are done in the style of late Medieval/early Renaissance altarpieces—but unlike their historical predecessors, the paintings are not glorifications. We leave it to you to view these narrative works, chock full of cultural references and ripped-from-the-headlines topics, and form your own ideas.

During the visit, Teraoka pointed out stories within the paintings. For example, he explained to Jensen the meaning of the wafting pink smoke in one work—how it refers to protesters who set off pink smoke above the vatican in 2013, demanding more prominent roles for women in the Roman Catholic Church. Teraoka mentioned how Pope Francis was once a nightclub bouncer, which is why he “knows a lot of layman’s language”—i.e. knows how to speak to the average joe.

Masami Teraoka demonstrates how the panels on his triptychs open and close.

Masami Teraoka demonstrates how the panels on his triptychs open and close. Note the pink smoke.

You can see Teraoka’s own posts about his work at his new page on Tondo.