Honolulu Biennial

The Honolulu Biennial will feature more than 30 contemporary artists.

©Yuki Kihara

Biennials could be considered the Olympics of the art world. Every two years, host countries in collaboration with art institutions display works of art — from painting and sculpture in traditional modes to avant-garde installations and post-modern films and videos — from an international roster of talented artists. 

Andrew Binkley, Stone Cloud

Titled Middle of Now | Here, the inaugural Honolulu Biennial makes its debut on March 8 and will feature more than 30 contemporary artists, whose works will be shown at various venues, with the primary location at Ward Village in a space that once served as the former location of the Sports Authority. Other installation sites include the historic IBM Building at Ward Village, Honolulu Hale, Foster Botanical Garden, the Arts at Marks Garage, Bishop Museum, Honolulu Museum of Art and a community arts center.

Fumio Nanjo will serve as the Curatorial Director for the inaugural Honolulu Biennial.

Selected by curatorial director Fumio Nanjo, director of Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, and curator Ngahiraka Mason, former curator of Indigenous Art, Maori Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the lineup will include leading, midcareer and emerging artists from Hawaiʻi, the Pacific Islands, Asia, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Among them will be Yayoi Kusama (Japan), Choi Jeong Hwa (Korea), Eko Nugroho (Indonesia), Alexander Lee (Tahiti), Lee Mingwei (Taiwan), and local talents Kaili Chun, Chris Ritson and Drew Broderick, to name but a few with Hawaiʻi ties. 

 According to a released statement, the Honolulu Biennial highlights the dynamic and diverse perspectives of artists from the cultures linked by the Pacific Ocean and underscores the idea that place has a lasting impact on individual and communal identities.

“Where we live shapes who we are. Our everyday surroundings affect our lives. Everything we are, all we have been, and are becoming is related to place,” said Nanjo and Mason in a joint statement of the guiding vision for the Biennial. “The power of geography and its affect on worldviews, culture, and stylistic and conceptual approaches to art are real and persistent. The Honolulu Biennial recognizes place-based creativity as living and continuous, and seeks to shine a light on the incredible variation and complexity of art created by artists from this part of the world.”

Entry to many of the Biennial sites are free and all will be accessible throughout the two-month run from March 8 to May 8. For a complete list of venues and artists, visit, honolulubiennial.org.

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