East West Center Gallery Highlights "Joys of Toys"

Dec 22, 2006 07:23 PM

by: Diane Ako

HONOLULU (KHNL)- Set aside any preconceived ideas of silent, somber contemplation. The newest East-West Center (EWC) Gallery exhibit will elicit smiles and cries of joy. "Whimsical World: Toys Across Asia", running through February 16, 2007, takes Gallery goers back to pre-PlayStation times when everyday objects and imagination was all that were needed to craft hours of fun.

Gallery curator Dr. Michael Schuster says "The last fifty years of urbanization and industrial development has led to rapid change throughout Asia." But, he points out, "A great variety of traditional toys have survived." Smilingly, he adds they've done more than survive. "They have also continued an important tradition that reflects local customs, legends, and environment in which they were created."

For the enjoyment of kids of all ages, some 300 traditional toys, games, dolls and puppets from China, Taiwan, Japan, Pakistan, Korea, Burma/Myanmar, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka are represented at the Gallery.

The lighthearted exhibit does, however, have a serious side. Schuster reminds us that "Toys help children realize their own powers and adjust to the grown-up world ... Adults use toys to form and strengthen social ties, teach the young, exercise both mind and body, and decorate living spaces."

Admission to the East-West Center Gallery, located at 1601 East-West Road (John A. Burns Hall), is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The Gallery is closed Saturdays and Federal holidays. The Gallery will be closed also on Sunday, December 24 and Sunday, December 31. Admission to the Gallery is free. Visitor parking on the adjacent University of Hawaii at Manoa campus is $3 and is usually easily available on the upper campus after 4 p.m. weekdays. Sunday parking is normally free and ample.

Three special events are planned in conjunction with the "Whimsical World" exhibition:

Sunday, January 14, 2 - 3:30 p.m.

Family Day Festivity

Gallery walkthrough and reception with curator Dr. Michael Schuster; bring your own favorite toys to share with others.

Sunday, January 21, 2 p.m.

Diane Perushek

UHM Librarian and noted collector will speak on her collection of tops from around the world.

Sunday, January 28, 2 p.m.

Simple Filipino Games

A hands-on workshop conducted by the Timpuyog Organization, UHM.

The East-West Center Arts Program is supported in part by the Hawaii Pacific Rim Society, Friends of Hawaii Charities, the Jackie Chan Foundation USA, and the contributors to the EWC Foundation, including members of the EWC Arts 'ohana.

For general information about the "Whimsical World: Toys Across Asia" exhibition, call (808) 944-7177.

For information on educational or group tours, contact Pattie Dunn, arts outreach assistant at (808) 944-7584 or via email at dunnp@EastWestCenter.org.