‘How Sweet It Was’ plantation-era exhibit at Village Galleries

Artist George Allan completing his work titled “End of an Era.”

Whereas once Maui was a thriving plantation island, now driving around, we see so many fields lying fallow, never to see the gentle swaying of sugar cane grasses nor acres upon acres of other-worldly, spiky fruit-topped pineapple plants dotting the island.

That type of agriculture might mainly be gone now (with the notable exception of Maui Gold Pineapple Co.), but not only are other types of crops now being grown (sunflowers for biodiesel use and award-winning coffee), but the memories of the sugar and pineapple plantations afford local artists much inspiration for their work.

Village Galleries at 120 Dickenson St. in Lahaina is presenting a new exhibit running through November. “How Sweet It Was” features works from the (Jo) Rockwell Collection as well as recent works by Maui artists Lorraine Abernathy, George Allan, Pamela Andelin Carleton, Michael Clements, Tracy Dudley, Joseph Fletcher, Betty Hay Freeland, Mary Ann Leigh, Casey McLain, Kathryn Oxman, Virginia Pierce, Macario Pascual, Jamie Roth, Ian Tremewen and more.

“We honor the history of Maui’s plantation life along with the artists who have so skillfully documented it for us,” explains Lynn Shue, owner-director of Village Galleries. “In this exhibition we will showcase Jo Rockwell’s art collection of plantation paintings. Jo has been connected to Maui since the early ’70s and has focused on collecting paintings depicting plantation life since she first heard of Pioneer Mill’s planned closure.

“We are delighted to share her collection for your enjoyment. Our gallery artists are sharing their own memories with stunning new works,” continued Shue. ” This promises to be one of the highlights of Village Galleries’ 2017 season. . . . We are proud to present our exhibition in support of Lahaina Restoration Foundation’s celebration of West Maui’s plantation life. It will be one big street festival within easy walking distance featuring different aspects of the plantation era. A great night to be in Lahaina.”

“Puunene Mill” by Pamela Andelin Carleton -- Photo courtey Village Galleries

In addition to the month long exhibition run, Village Galleries plans a gala artists’ reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 10.

“How Sweet It Was” may be visited during gallery hours from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily until Nov. 30.

For more information, call 661-4402 or visit www.villagegalleriesmaui.com.

“Sweet Memories of Ukumehame” by Betty Hay Freeland -- Photo courtey Village Galleries