Open the doors to Viewpoints Gallery in Makawao and step outside.
Instead of entering a traditional installation with walls of artwork, upcoming show Malama Wao Akua invites viewers beyond the confines of a room to the outdoor beauty of Maui's native environment, which is teeming with unique species that can't be found anywhere else in the world.
Maui's native flora and fauna will be celebrated with the East Maui Watershed Partnership's sixth annual juried exhibition, set to open Thursday, Sept. 23, at the Makawao gallery, with a reception at 4 and blessing at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25.
“Natural Elegance of the Native Land” by Joelle C., winner of MWA 2009 Jurors’ Choice Award
The contest is open to Maui residents of all ages and abilities. And the mediums accepted in the show are as diverse as the natural beauty each piece represents, from painting to sculpture to photography and jewelry. But one common thread runs throughout: Subject matter must be a Maui native species or landscape.
Neida Bangerter, Maui Arts & Cultural Center's Schaefer International Gallery director, and Lisa Schattenburg-Raymond, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens education and cultural program manager, will serve as judges this year. Awards will be given for adults and keiki in categories such as Jurors' Choice, Rarest Find, People's Choice and Art of Conservation (showing conservation at work).
East Maui Watershed Partnership organizers view the show as a way to honor Maui's endemic species in uniting art and conservation, as well as an avenue to help bring community awareness.
Malama Wao Akua's talk story thursdays
Maui's environmental experts will offer talk-story sessions on Thursday evenings from 6 to 7 at Viewpoints Gallery
* Sept. 30
* Oct. 7
* Oct. 14
* Oct. 21
Also, artists participating in the exhibition see it as an opportunity to expand their creative horizons.
"It lets me be aware of the native environment," said Kula artist Joelle Perz. "It's mind-opening to see how some of these environments have been preserved and how the East Maui Watershed is working to preserve that environment."
And with personal awareness comes the aim of bringing awareness to others through art, said Perz.
"When we have a show like this, it takes (viewers) into another dimension. (They start asking) what is that plant about? Where is that coming from? It opens awareness."
Entries may still be submitted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Viewpoints Gallery, 3620 Baldwin Ave. For more details on the exhibition or to enter, visit www.viewpointsgallerymaui.com or www.eastmauiwatershed.org. The exhibition concludes on Oct. 26.
- Kehaulani Cerizo