“Wahi” a few, “pana” the heartbeat of place; the beat or pulse of time; a place of note or legend.

On March 8, 9, and 10, local artists from across the state made their way to site-specific wahi pana (sacred places) with the sole purpose of creating art that captures a sense of place. These artists were participating in the Association of Hawai‘i Artists’ three-day, open air art creation events. The work made during the art creation event will, ultimately, culminate in an exhibition, Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place at the Honolulu Museum of Art School Main Gallery, opening on May 31. This event was open to both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional pieces. In both rain and shine, artists worked with a variety of mediums including watercolor, oil paints and even held Raku firings on the beach. All Hawai‘i resident artists were invited to participate. The only prerequisite being that prior to creating, each artist was required to complete an educational training that focused on the history of that specific location and its cultural significance. Educational tours led by Kumu “Uncle Joe” Recca of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Kumu Glen Kila of Marae Ha‘a Koa, and Dr. Paul Brennan, local archaeologist and historian were organized by the Association of Hawai‘i Artists prior to the event. Teeming with knowledge, the artists were then sent out to capture the essence of the wahi pana in their work. The exhibition, Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place seeks to expand the eyes of kanaka ma‘oli, kama‘aina and malihini alike as they rediscover familiar locales through different eyes, learn new history and nourish a sense of curiosity and respect for places not yet seen.

Wahi Pana will be on view through July 5 at the HoMA School Main Gallery.