“Art by Hand” opens Friday at Wailoa Center

  • Amber Aguirre
  • "Sheep in Conversation," ceramic, by Amber Aguirre. (Courtesy photo)

Wailoa Center and the Hawaii Island Art Alliance will be presenting “Art by Hand: Contemporary Craft Juried Exhibit” featuring 31 artisans from across the State of Hawaii. Ceramics, glass, wood, metal, fiber and mixed media art will comprise the 51 works of art juried in and on display in the Main Gallery.

The public is invited to this free event and the opening reception for all artists is 5-7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 7) at Wailoa Center.

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The exhibit will run throughout the month and close on Sept. 27.

Ceramic artist and juror of this exhibit, Amber Aguirre, will also have her clay sculptures and jewelry on display.

Currently working as an artist on the Kona side of Hawaii Island, Aguirre’s artist’s statement reflects a fascinating story where she says, “Throughout history artists have functioned as social commentators. As the child of a Holocaust survivor I was aware from a young age of the fear, apathy and victimization inherent in human cultures. I use human and anthropomorphic figures as the vehicle to explore the results of these prevalent emotions on society. I reference art, contemporary culture, religion, mythology and other forms of social determinism in non-traditional ways to engage my subjects in activities that confront the viewer with the results of the human condition.”

Fiber artist Emily DuBois will also be featured as an invited artist in the Gallery. She is an artist who has been displaced by the recent lava events, and was forced to leave her art behind.

A studio artist and teacher, DuBois was born in 1946 in New Rochelle, N.Y. She received a B.F.A. cum laude from the Rochester Institute of Technology School for American Crafts in 1970, an M.F.A. cum laude from California College of Arts and Crafts in 1980, and further training in silk and gold brocade weaving at the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology in Benaras, India, from 1980 to 1981.

Her textiles, drawings, and mixed media works have been exhibited extensively in the U.S. and internationally.

Emily DuBois’ life as an artist on Big Island changed tragically with the recent lava events where she states, “After the Halema‘uma‘u and Pu‘u O‘o eruptions in early May 2018, local police and National Guard forced my spouse Carley Fonville and me to evacuate our beloved home on Ala ‘Ili Road.

“For days before we left we were subject to constant earthquakes (at one point 500 tremors in one hour) while Pele was flowing underground (we could hear and feel her pushing big boulders along under our house) before surfacing violently as a fast-moving flow fountaining through many fissures in Leilani Estates, less than two miles from our home. The air was impossible to breathe and there were predictions that our hillside would begin to slide, with cracks appearing on our land, on the road and a mile away on Highway 130. It was all very frightening.

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“We got out in a hurry after packing both vehicles with only the clothes and supplies we needed for a short time, because at that point we thought we would be able to stay on the island until we could go back home. When we left we found new homes for our dog, cat and 12 chickens. We were happy to help others by giving our food, supplies, clothing and tools to the Hub emergency shelter in Pahoa and to friends. Even when limited and controlled access to the entire area was reopened, we couldn’t get near our property because of the thick CO2 smoke, ash and Pele’s hair. After being kindly hosted by friends in other parts of the island for as long as possible, we decided to leave Hawaii altogether because our health was suffering and we couldn’t do anything with our home.”

Wailoa Center is free and open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information call at 933-0416.

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