Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center To Host ‘Ae Kai: A Culture Lab in Hawai’i

June 20, 2017
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The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center will present ʻAe Kai: A Culture Lab on Convergence in Honolulu Friday through Sunday, July 7–9. The event will take place July 7 and 8 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and July 9, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the former site of the original Foodland at Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. Featuring the works of more than 50 artists, scholars and performers, the Culture Lab will host an array of art installations, live performances and interactive maker spaces.

“The event illustrates the rich complexity of the Pacific, where people from different backgrounds have converged and collaborated for generations,” said Lisa Sasaki, director of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. “Through the lens of the artists, visitors will have the opportunity to question their perceptions about Hawai’i and the Pacific.”

This three-day event following Independence Day marks the first major event hosted by the Asian Pacific American Center that will predominantly feature artists from Hawai’i, the Pacific Islands and Oceania. It will also be the first public event to be hosted in the former Foodland site since it closed in 2014. The event will be located on the northeast ground level of Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest open-air shopping center.

“The ‘Ae Kai is the point at which the freshwater and ocean converge,” said Kālewa Correa, curator of Hawai’i and the Pacific for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. “It is a place of blending and abundance both naturally and culturally. Creativity is similar to water, it flows and connects ideas to people, like the ocean connecting Hawai’i to the world.”

Visitors to the Culture Lab will stroll through interconnected works of art and activities that meditate on the dynamics between humans and their environments, and the relationships between traditional and contemporary cultural practice.

Among the featured artists and performers are:

  • A collective of Cuban surfers who will be visiting Hawai’i for the first time
  • Artists exploring indigeneity from Alaska, California, Australia, New Zealand, the Marshall Islands and Guam
  • A husband and wife duo whose paintings and murals merge fantasy and sustainability
  • Graffiti artists committed to improving the quality of life through arts programming

A complete listing of participants for ʻAe Kai is on the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s website.

About Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

Established in 1997, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center is a national resource for discovering the consequence and complexity of the Asian Pacific American experience through collaboration, exhibitions, programs and digital experiences. Follow the center on Twitter: @SmithsonianAPA.

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