HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - During his reign, King Kalakaua fought for the survival of his island country as a savvy early adopter of emerging technologies and design — and the strategic use of art.
The Honolulu Museum of Art is showcasing the monarch's mission by presenting "Ho'oulu Hawai'i: The King Kalakaua Era."
HOMA organizers describe it as an exploration of how a forward-looking nation created a cosmopolitan identity that took its place on the world stage.
The exhibit brings together works or art and reveals never-before-displayed pieces from Honolulu Museum of Art, Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, Hawaii State Archives, and Mission Houses.
According to Healoha Johnston, the museum's first Native Hawaiian curator, artistic examples featured in the exhibition explore how both Hawaiian and foreign art traditions were reshaped in a local context and then deployed in the projection of a national identity.
"The hope is that people feel inspired in the same way we were inspired by the spirit of the time," Johnston said.
The museum says this is the first exhibition to describe this defining period in Hawaii's history — 1874 to 1891 — when Hawaiian art and culture, philosophy and practice were promoted through innovative means, ultimately to present a national identity to a global audience.
The exhibit runs until January 2019.