Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place

Wahi Pana” means a pulse of a place and many understand it to mean a place of reknown or historied place such as the site of the birth of Kamehameha in Kohala. But I also believe a wahi pana can also be a place that creates the sense of belonging, especially if it is one that is tied to the place of your birth or where you feel a connection to as part of your ohana (family).

wahi pana: A sense of place
Waikiki “Spouting Waters” was a place of healing

I wrote a proposal for an exhibition “Wahi Pana: A Sense of Place for the Association of Hawai’i Artists (AHA) in a call for proposals by the Honolulu Musuem of Art School Main Gallery (Linekona) that would allow me to explore the question with fellow artists: If we knew more about a place, the mo’olelo (story) about a specific place, would it influence or inform our art we create connected to that particular location?

I wasn’t sure. I wanted to find out.

The exhibition requires artists to listen and learn about selected sites, then to appear during a 72 hour period to work on their piece. They have almost a month after the 3 day art creation event to complete their work and they submit it online along with a short text with their reflection, statement, or description of the process.

I will be looking for evidence of the influence of wahipana upon the artworks and connection between the artist and the wahipana. I am not sure one will be able to see it, but as artists we are adept at observation, intuitive connection and expression so I am very curious to see what will appear. I am a haumana of Bezalel before me–learning from kumu who hold wisdom and discernment through the oral tradition of those who walked before us and life’s experience.

More about wahi pana sites

To follow the project follow me on instagram @dawnyoshimurastudio