New exhibit contrasts images of Hawaii as paradise with reality

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Pop culture often portrays Hawaii as paradise — and a new exhibit at Bishop Museum depicts how that negatively impacted the native Hawaiian community.

The one-room exhibit, called "Unreal: Hawaii in Popular Imagination," has two sides to it, each with a different theme.

"Native Hawaiian voices are represented on one side of the gallery and the commercial art represented on the other side of the gallery, creating different juxtapositions within the space," said Kapalikuokalani Maile, culture educator at Bishop Museum.

One side of the room shows historic advertisements, posters, and music that promotes Hawaii as paradise. The other contains a double-sided mural portraying some of the historical issues that the native Hawaiian community has faced as a result of the effects of those popular depictions.

"You will be in a very different space than what you're used to, and the conversations, hopefully, the dialogues that come out of that also help us understand the different spaces that we come from and help us understand the space and the people that represent Hawaii," Maile said.

The exhibit opens Saturday, and will run through January 27.

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