Maui Connections

Maui’s art scene was alive and well last weekend with two art receptions in Kahului, according to Cynthia Conrad and Jerry Labb, who filled me in on all the details. The 17th annual Art of Trash opened Friday at the Maui Mall, continuing daily through May 4. Hosted by Malama Maui Nui, it featured a live center stage performance by Sargenti’s Junkyard Dogs. They played instruments made from recycled materials, the wildest being an electric guitar fashioned from a surfboard.

Next, marching into the courtyard with a driving beat, came Ryan Anderson’s Samba Maui, a large, colorful group of percussionists who got the crowd clapping and shaking their hips in anticipation of the ever-popular Maui Trashion Show. Kids, teens, moms and budding fashion designers posed and vamped their way onstage in clever outfits recycled from paper bags, plastic shower curtains, tissues, cardboard, tape and packing materials.

Wilma Nakamura, chair of the event, ushered the 150-plus crowd into the gallery to view the artworks fashioned from recycled, reinvented and repurposed machinery parts, cans, paper, lamps, springs, pots, pans and other found objects. Juried by Judy Bruder, Elizabeth Keller won first place with a hula skirt made from cigarette butts! Among those enjoying it all were Lee and Patti Gardner, Andrew Annenberg, Rae and Michael Takemoto and contributing artists Stephanie Clifton and Jim Niess.

On Saturday night, Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery welcomed dozens of artists, former students and scores of well-wishers who had come to congratulate Sidney Yee on a 40-year retrospective of his ceramics and paintings. Titled “Wabi-Sabi,” which is broadly described as being “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete,” it typifies Yee’s journey. The dramatic installation showcases Yee’s early raku-fired ceramic work, his many tea bowls and paintings, which were selling at a brisk pace, according Gallery Director Neida Bangerter.

“The walls held dreamy compositions describing Honolulu’s Chinatown, ghosts and other enigmatic symbols painted during his “Red Stage.” Semi-representational subjects, abstract items, floating figures, driftwood, and other organic forms fill large canvases, leaving the viewer feeling calmly propelled into another time and space. Masterfully using a variety of mediums, Sidney Yee is a generous and significant contemporary artist whose work is culturally relevant and reminds us of the beauty and mystery of the natural world,” report Cynthia and Jerry.

Congratulating the lei-laden artist were George and Janet Allan, Julie Bridle, Michael Moore, Helen Nielsen, Kirk and Carla Kurokawa, Ed Bartholomew, Ditmar Hoerl, Darrell and Mary Orwig, Rich and Inger Tully, Tom Calhoun, Gene and Linda Wasson, Sunny Jordan and Bob Flint.

The exhibit continues during gallery hours through June 2.

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Still being on the Mainland, this will be the first Easter weekend in 27 years that my family hasn’t spent at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, welcoming spring’s miracles of renewal and rebirth, and embracing all things Hawaiian at the resort’s unique Celebration of the Arts.

This living collage, under the wise, visionary guidance of Clifford Nae’ole and Hokulani Holt, mixes traditional protocols and practices, hands-on art workshops, hula and music performances, panels, films, the Celebration of Island Tastes luau and the new Celebration After-Hours nightclub, all of which give glimpses into Hawaiian culture — past, present and future — you won’t find anywhere else.

Most of the activities are free. This year’s theme is “Aloha I Na Mea Kanu . . . Love for all things planted.”

For the complete schedule and other details, visit kapaluacelebrationofthearts.com.

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Someone I’ve shared many celebrations with over the years, award-winning Maui filmmaker and events producer Ken Martinez Burgmaier, emails to say he’s recently back from New Zealand where he explored the North Island and “was there for the nation’s two minutes of silence in dedication to their horrible tragedy.”

Ken had “some touching conversations with local Kiwis and always had amazing times filming the Waiheke Island JazzFEST over the years.” He also worked with Maori natives and touched base with some of the canoe carvers who participated in Lahaina’s Festival of Canoes, way back when.

His award-winning “Hana Remembers Her Sons — Sarah Joe” will screen during the Hana Canoe Club’s annual regatta at Hana Bay May 3-5. The event marks the 40th anniversary of the loss at sea of the Sarah Joe and the five fishermen aboard. Canoe clubs from around the island will be attending.

The May 3 presentation will include screenings of Ken’s award-winning “Ho’omau” and “Kaho’olawe, An Island Healing,” shot traveling with the Hawaiian Canoe Club as they paddled from Maui to Kaho’olawe with the keiki. The group camped on the beach and stayed in the original workhouse, planting trees around the island and exploring ancient sacred Hawaiian grounds.

* Rick Chatenever, award-winning columnist and former entertainment and features editor of The Maui News, is a freelance journalist and documentary scriptwriter/producer. Contact him at rickchatenever@gmail.com.

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