November 30, 2018
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Kini ke Kua: Transformative Images
Bishop Museum original exhibition explores relationships between kiʻi (images) and people
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum presents “Kini ke Kua: Transformative Images,” a new exhibit that explores relationships between kiʻi (images) and people. From wooden and stone images to photographs and contemporary renderings, the exhibition will guide visitors through a multifaceted presentation of these images from Bishop Museum’s collections and contemporary indigenous art and practice. “Kini ke Kua: Transformative Images” will be on display in the Joseph M. Long Gallery from Feb. 16–Sept. 2, 2019.
Ki‘i, which refer to images in the Hawaiian language, are a cornerstone of Hawaiian spirituality and can take many forms. Fashioned from wood, stone and other natural materials, ki‘i become embodiments of deity: representations of akua (gods) and ʻaumākua (personal or family guardians). This exhibit will explore some of the ways in which relationships between kiʻi and people may change and how and why some of those changes have occurred.
The gallery space will be organized into four thematic areas, allowing visitors to explore images as they pertain to spirituality, cultural practices, global diffusion and contemporary inspiration. Some will appreciate the ki‘i for their aesthetics, observing the careful shaping of such images. History buffs may enjoy learning about the rich stories associated with the ki‘i and how they have circulated throughout the world. Visitors will also be able to see how Hawaiian ki‘i have inspired contemporary practices of image casting and carving. “Kini ke Kua: Transformative Images” will present multiple ways to understand kiʻi, with contexts and associations that grow, change and expand, encouraging visitors to carve their own paths and relationships to kiʻi.
At the center of this exhibition will be a kiʻi long held in a private French collection, recently gifted to Bishop Museum by Salesforce Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne. The wooden image will serve as the focal point of the exhibit, and will contribute to the larger dialogue about relationships, spirituality and kiʻi in Hawaiʻi and as they move through the world. The gifted kiʻi will be complemented with images from Bishop Museum’s collections as well as community loans, further enriching the visitor’s understanding of this very special ki‘i.
For more information about “Kini ke Kua: Transformative Images,” visit www.BishopMuseum.org/Kini-ke-Kua. Bishop Museum sincerely thanks Marc and Lynne Benioff for making this exhibition possible.
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