Iolani School’s new interactive art sculpture is a feast for the eyes ― and ears

Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 2:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - World-renowned installation artist Jen Lewin is particularly proud of her latest masterpiece that hangs at Iolani School.

The larger-then-life-sized sculpture isn’t her biggest work, but it is her first at a K-12 school.

“Really the work is about bringing the people in and allowing them to engage, not just with the work but actually with each other,” she said.

Lewin named the sculpture FLOW. It’s like a giant harp with 24 polycarbonate tubes and wireless electronics that light up and play musical tones when the tubes are activated by movement.

“The height of my hand changes light and it’s shooting up to the top of the tube or down. And then as I sustain the notes the sounds will also change,” she said.

The progressive sculpture was installed on an outside wall of Iolani’s Kosasa Performance Studios building. Lewin said it’s perfectly placed.

“There’s a dance class on one side. There’s a music classroom on the other. In between is this very high-tech piece that’s also about music and dance,” she said.

“At Iolani we firmly believe that performing arts are a rich avenue to help children uncover the artist in each one of them,” said Zachary Linnert, dean of the Lower School.

The Lower School has about 650 students so the artwork will get a work out. That pleases Lewin who always encourages her audience to touch her art.

“It was really cool. I liked it. I liked the music that it made,” sixth grader Tyren Akiyama said.

It took Lewin about a year to create the interactive sculpture.

“At different times of the day you’ll be able to see these really dynamic light qualities,” she said.

Lewin lives in New York but she grew up on Maui. She previously had a piece exhibited at Kapolei Commons. That was temporary. FLOW is permanent.

“It’s such an honor to be able to bring a work back here to where I grew up, to my home,” she said.

Her sculptures have been displayed around the world..

“This however is the first time that I’m using light and sound at the same time in this capacity,” she said.

Lewin hopes for years to come Iolani’s students who interact with her art will be inspired to tap into their own creativity.

“If some of these kids can play in this work and then go out there in the world and make other things that can be like that and engage technology in beautiful and artful ways then that would be amazing,” she said.

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