February 6, 2017

Patterns, intricate and vibrant, are a trademark of Hawaiian artistic expression, whether stamped onto barkcloth, drawn onto gourds, woven into mats or pricked into skin. In celebration of Hawaiian creative vision, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum presents the upcoming exhibit Hulia ‘Ano: Inspired Patterns, on display in the J. M. Long Gallery from March 18–Oct. 16, 2017. Drawing from the treasures in Bishop Museum’s ethnology collections and supplemented by its vast natural science collections, Hulia ‘Ano explores Hawaiian aesthetic traditions, spotlighting design motifs and visual similarities in the natural world.

This original exhibit examines the ʻano—or nature—of an object in pattern, shape and form.

In keeping with the aesthetic emphasis of the show, displays are organized on the basis of design motifs, in contrast with the more conventional contexts of function or material. Each exhibit case throughout Hulia ‘Ano is represented by a single Hawaiian word and its many definitions. These words were chosen as visual or conceptual descriptions of the patterns presented in the cases. The result are wonderful and intriguing groupings of cultural and natural objects which, considered together with the word definitions, can enhance the understanding of patterns and provoke creativity and contemplation.

To present this story, the exhibit team reviewed collections from every museum department to assemble stunning arrays of cultural objects and natural science specimens. From pāwehe motifs (Hawaiian geometric patterns) to design elements inspired by nature, visitors will gaze on bold patterned kapa (barkcloth), fine makaloa sedge mats, printed gourds, a mahiole (royal feathered helmet) and ‘ohe kāpala (bamboo stamps). Objects from the museum’s natural science collections will include herbarium (plant) specimens, land and sea shells and other exquisite examples from the zoological collections.

In addition to fueling inspiration, the Hulia ʻAno exhibit will offer creative outlets. Interactive stations will enable visitors to create their own Hawaiian design motifs while drawing inspiration from the accompanying displays of traditional cultural objects. Using a touch screen, visitors will be able to select and position patterns that are then projected onto a gourd to create a virtual ipu pāwehe (decorated gourd container). At another station, visitors will arrange icons used on historic Hawaiian quilts, such as crowns, pineapples or flowers, to create a design template that is then radiated and projected onto a wall to create a full-scale quilt design. The combination of repeated and mixed designs in these interactives will allow visitors to produce beautiful and surprising patterns.

To highlight modern expressions of pattern making, Bishop Museum partnered with five contemporary artists embodying a range of Hawaiian cultural backgrounds. Each of these artists visited Bishop Museum’s collections and drew inspiration for new works created specifically for the Hulia ‘Ano exhibit:

  • Verna Takashima, based in Honolulu, spreads the skill and practice of kapa making throughout Hawaiʻi. In addition to a new kapa piece she has created for Hulia ‘Ano, several examples of her grandmother’s kapa and tools are part of the J. S. Emerson Collection at Bishop Museum.
  • Taupōuri Tangarō of Hilo threads the expansive world of cordage into modern relevance. As a kumu hula of Unukupukupu and the director of Hawaiian culture and protocols engagement at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, he teaches students, faculty and the greater community the benefits of perceiving the world from multiple perspectives.
  • Lufi Luteru, rooted in Mākaha, manifests endless facets of ulana lau hala or lau hala plaiting in her inspired creations. As an educator, full-time entrepreneur and owner of Pāwehi Creations, Luteru is fascinated by designs, both intricate and subtle, and pairs them in varying ways to convey stories.
  • Kawika Lum of Wahiawā perpetuates the ties to Hawaiian featherwork within the community as one of the last apprentices of esteemed Hawaiian featherworker Paulette Nohealani Kahalepuna. Lum creates beautiful feather lei and kāhili (feather standards) with stunning combinations of color and feather type.
  • Matt Ortiz is a Honolulu-based artist who draws upon Hawaiian values and concepts and effortlessly presents them in contemporary visual contexts. He and his wife, also an artist, are founders of the creative consulting company Wooden Wave, best known for its signature treehouse murals.

Lastly, in conjunction with Hulia ‘Ano, visitors can try their hand at traditional Hawaiian printing using stamps and inks made from the island landscape. Starting March 21, from 1–3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the Hawaiian Hall Atrium, visitors can meet with the museum’s cultural education staff for this activity and create a patterned keepsake to take home.

Hulia ‘Ano: Inspired Patterns was made possible by the generous support from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and John Young Foundation.


Bishop Museum Admission, Parking & Hours

General Admission                 Hawai‘i Residents, Hawai‘i College Students and Military with ID

Adults: $22.95                        Adults: $14.95

Seniors (65+): $19.95             Seniors (65+): $12.95

Youth (4–12): $14.95             Youth (4–12): $10.95

Child (3 and under): Free       Child (3 and under): Free

Children age 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.


$5 per car per visit; free for members with sticker.


Open every day from 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

 Bishop Museum Café by Highway Inn offers a limited menu of Hawaiian plates, poke bowls, sandwiches, and snacks from 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. daily. Museum members receive a 10 percent discount with their membership card.

 About Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum:

Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a royal descendant of King Kamehameha I. Bishop Museum is proud to be recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific objects and natural history specimens. In total, Bishop Museum’s collections consist of more than 25 million items including over 22 million biological specimens and more than two million cultural objects and specimens, derived from a legacy of research spanning more than 125 years. These collections also include more than 115,000 historical publications, one million historical photographs, films, works of art, audio recordings and manuscripts. More than 300,000 people visit the museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren. For more information, please visit www.bishopmuseum.org, follow @BishopMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, become a fan of Bishop Museum on Facebook, visit Bishop Museum’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/user/BishopMuseum, or call (808) 847-3511.