‘Conservation Through Art’ highlights Hawaii endangered species

Hawaii Independent Staff

HONOLULU—In honor of the United Nation’s International Year of Forests, the Hawaii Conservation Alliance presents “Conservation through Art,” an exhibit focused on raising awareness about Hawaii’s threatened ecosystems. It will feature exhibits at The ARTS at Mark’s Garage the Hawaii Conservation Conference at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Celebrating Hawaii Conservation Week, “Splendor: Portraits of the Natural World” opens at Mark’s Garage July 26. The exhibit features Maui artist and Haleakala National Park ranger Melissa Chimera’s large-format paintings of rare plants and animals of the State Natural Area Reserve System. The exhibit an be viewed at The ARTS at Marks Garage from July 26 to August 13. The opening reception for “Splendor” takes place at The ARTS at Marks Garage, July 27 at 6:00 p.m. Chimera will be on hand, as will nature writer Adele Ne Jame, who will read poems inspired by the remote Hawaiian wilderness from her new book The South Wind.

Art and Conservation, a public event, will take place on August 4 at The ARTS at Marks Garage, featuring a “Splendor” exhibit walk-through with Melissa Chimera, and a visual presentation, “Reimagining Biodiversity,” by photographer and author Susan Middleton. The “Splendor” exhibit will feature a walk- through, pupus and no host bar.

Registered Hawaii Conservation Conference (HCC) participants can view Conservation through Art at the Hawaii Convention Center from August 2 to 4.  The public can view the exhibit at HCC’s free Open House on August 3, from 3:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The exhibit includes a selection of images from Susan Middleton’s and David Liittschwager’s book and exhibition Archipelago: Portraits of Life in the World’s Most Remote Island Sanctuary; marine debris art “The Lighter Side of the Albatross” by Susan Scott; marine debris art “Sharkastics” by Cheryl King and FOCUS (Forests, Oceans, Climate and Us) project murals created by youth, local artists and conservationists.

The Conservation Through Art Exhibit will showcase paintings, prints and images of the dazzling yet little-known, natural wonders hidden in Hawaii’s wild places, like the whirling tentacles of a he‘e (octopus) to the unfurling blooms of puakala (poppy), as well as a po‘ouli bird launching into flight.

Some of the scenes in the exhibit may now only exist on canvas or as photographs, as Hawaii’s rarest species, threatened constantly by invasive rats and feral pigs, face an uncertain future and possibly extinction. The po‘ouli was last seen in 2004 and is one of the eight Hawaiian bird species that have disappeared during the artist Chimera’s lifetime.