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    March 2019
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Kahilu Exibits Presents – Serenely Proliferating: Kaori Ukaji

Kahilu Exhibits presents a solo show by internationally recognized artist, Kaori Ukaji, from October 26 – December 20, 2017. There will be an opening reception and artist’s walk-through on Thursday, October 26 from 5-7pm. A no host bar and light pupu will be offered during the reception. Work on display will be Ukajiʻs multimedia installation, Serenely Proliferating, which spans both galleries at the Kahilu Theatre.

Kaori Ukaji

Japan-born artist Kaori Ukaji, first came to Hawai‘i in 1994 while on a trip around the world. “At the time I was exhibiting in Japan,” says Ukaji. “One day I decided to pack up and take a yearlong vacation. I went everywhere from Hong Kong to Australia. Then, when I arrived in Hawai‘i, somehow I felt as if I had come home.”

Ukaji is an installation artist who creates immersive environments with simple materials. She frequently chooses a singular color, idea and medium, which for many years has been graphite on paper. For the past three years, she has been drawn to the color red, and has focused her work around ideas about her physical body, and the sensuality and possibilities of womanhood.

Her most recent installation, Serenely Proliferating, is completely incarnadine and white. Incarnadine is bright crimson, or a pinkish red, and it saturates the works in the show, which are made of tissue, cloth, skin and thread. These include large, hanging embroidered canvases with fronts and backs exposed, displaying the delicate stitching of thousands upon thousands of thread loops.

A floor platform presents the work Incarnadine II, a lush expanse of painstakingly folded, crimson dyed white bath tissue. Pneuma Plate / Skin, sits on a white pedestal, and is created with skin Ukaji peeled from calluses on her feet and then dyed a rich orange-red, casts graceful shadows from the glass plate that it is mounted on. There is a serene, meditative quality to the installation, and the patient, labor intensive processes are visibly present. Ukaji says, “Repetitive motion brings me to the deep inner side of myself, and brings me to a higher level of being.”

Ukaji had a cancer scare last year, and it prompted self-examination. In a May, 2017 interview with Hawaii Public Radio, she said “At that time I was living with ­­­some kind of fear, I may have cancer. Eventually that feeling became probably I have cancer, kind of feeling. It ended up I didn’t have it but those kinds of things I was thinking about for a couple of months.” For Ukaji, each piece in Serenely Proliferating is a rapturous hymn to her body. “I only make pieces of what I am now,” she says. “I’m 52, and my body is changing physically, and also mentally, as a woman. Just thinking about my whole life, who I am.”

“We so are pleased to bring this exquisite, challenging, contemporary art to Kamuela.” says Sally Lundburg, Kahilu Exhibits Coordinator. “Kaoriʻs installations present a deeply moving personal expression, work that has been recognized at the highest levels throughout the state of Hawai’i.”

Last year, Ukaji was selected as one of four artists for the 2017 Artists of Hawai‘i exhibition at Honolulu Museum of Art (HMA) in Oahu, a prestigious exhibition that has showcased the talents of island artists since 1950. Recent awards from the HMA include The Roselle Davenport Award for Artistic Excellence, The Reuben Tam Award, and The Jim Winters Award for 3D Design. She was a featured artist in the Fifth Contemporary Museum Biennial of Hawai‘i artists on Oʻahu, and has had solo exhibitions in Hawai‘i, New York, Australia, and Japan.

Her work resides in the permanent collections of the Omi International Art Center (NY); the Francis Greenberg Collection (NY); the Asian American Art Center (NY); and Subaru Observatory (HI). In addition to being a practicing artist, Kaori is a faculty member in the art program at Hawai‘i Community College.

Kahilu Galleries are free and open to the public Monday thru Friday, from 9am – 1pm, and during all performances. For more information, visit www.kahilutheatre.org or call (808) 885-6868.

Volcano Art Center Gets Elemental

Earth, water, fire, air. The natural elements are such a commonplace theme used in art, literature and especially music from the 70’s that we often overlook how they influence our daily lives.

Enter The Elemental: Setting Forth Various Elements Through Transfigurement Into Shining, a group exhibition presented at Volcano Art Center’s Rainforest Gallery at Niaulani beginning Saturday, September 29, 2012. A closing reception is scheduled for Thursday, October 25 from 4:00 to 6:00pm.


Tim Freeman, He ipu hō’ihi Pele #22

Instead of depicting the elements through representational or impressionistic means, works of clay, wood, metal and canvas aim to celebrate the basic dimensions of nature in a more immediate, tangible way.


Clayton Amemiya, Pi’ihonua, III

This unique collection features the work of artists Clayton Amemiya, Henry Bianchini, Kevin Diminyatz, Stephen Freedman, Tim Freeman, Stephen Lang, Chiu Leong, Monika Mann, Michael Marshall, William McKnight, Elizabeth Miller, Jerilee Negrillo, Alan Ohara, Susumu Sakaguchi, Randy Shiroma, Randy Takaki, Kaori Ukaji and Glenn Yamanoha.


Randy Shiroma, Navel of the Earth

The Elemental will be on display Saturday, September 29 until Saturday, October 27, showing Monday through Saturday from 9:00am to 4:00pm at VAC’s Rainforest Gallery at Niaulani, 19-4074 Old Volcano Road in Volcano Village. For showings outside of gallery hours, please call for an appointment at (808) 967-8222. For additional exhibit information, please visit www.volcanoartcenter.org or email info@volcanoartcenter.org.

The art show is exhibited in conjunction with a philosophy conference on the topic of “The Elemental” hosted by the Philosophy Department of the University of Hawaii at Hilo to be held September 27-29 in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. For questions related to the conference, please contact Tim Freeman at (808) 345-5231 or freeman@hawaii.edu.