TO FULLY appreciate the Chinatown art scene, take an occasional stroll (if First Friday is too much of a sprint) and check out Slow Art Friday, every third Friday evening of the month.
Tonight, as part of the event, MAMo Gallery features "PEWA"—which refers to the "butterfly patch" used in Hawaiian woodworking. It symbolizes the unifying power of art and represents the collaboration between artists Carl F. K. Pao and Solomon Enos. As the artists say: The beauty is in the connection itself.
When Enos and Pao first started painting together, they didn’t look alike, but now some people have trouble telling the two apart. At this point they have become brothers in art.
SLOW ART FRIDAY
Where: Honolulu Arts District
When: 6 to 9 p.m. today
SLOW ART STANDOUTS
Pauahi Street Party: featuring new exhibits and live entertainment, including aerial dance by Samadhi Hawaii, music by Hawaii Symphony musicians, Otto Cake desserts, "slow food" and organic wine on Euro-style tables, from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nuuanu and Bethel Streets
Artworks by Solomon Enos and Carl F.K. Pao
Where: MAMo Gallery, 1142 Bethel St.
When: Through July 31
Note: From 6 to 9 tonight at MAMo, 10 percent of all sales will be donated to Kanu Hawai’i and Kahea.
Last September, Enos and Pao were part of the Helumoa Mural project at the Sheraton Waikiki, which brought native Hawaiian contemporary artists together with more than two dozen youth to interpret, through art, a revered coconut grove in Waikiki. That was their first taste of working with each other.
After painting side by side for a week in a Sheraton Waikiki room-turned-art studio, the men became fast friends.
Pao, influenced by his experiences in New Zealand, creates work that is graphic and vibrant. Tattooed mountains and "contemporary petroglyphs" are motifs strongly identified with his work.
Enos’ pieces feel more organic and earthy. He paints the elements that speak to him. Kalo is often a theme, along with natural systems and the interconnection of all things—man, gods and nature.
Between the two, a special magic happens.
After the Helumoa project, the Sheraton Waikiki commissioned Pao and Enos to create two large entry pieces, "Arrival" and "Gathering," from a Hawaiian interpretation. A second art studio was set up at the hotel, and Carl and Solomon painted together for over four months.
This time, instead of working side by side, the two artists worked on original art together, and a true artistic collaboration was born.
PAO AND ENOS continued to paint—and pain. Working out of Studio PEWA at the Sheraton Waikiki, they created original art in their own styles, and also collaborated on several larger pieces.
The collective body of original art they have created over the past year makes up the PEWA show.
MAMo Gallery, a community arts gallery in Chinatown that exhibits native Hawaiian art, stepped forward to provide the venue.
The show is significant, because it’s the first time these artists have made their joint work available to a larger audience for purchase. Typically, they work on large private commissions.