Two isle representatives in ‘Artists of Hawaii 2013’

Let Sleeping Wasps Lie (Photo courtesy of Amber Aguirre)

Let Sleeping Wasps Lie (Photo courtesy of Amber Aguirre)


Hawaii Island artist Amber Aquirre is one of 11 artists in the state selected to participate in the “Artists of Hawaii 2013” exhibition Sept. 19-Nov. 24 at the Honolulu Museum of Art, according to Museum Director Stephan Jost.

Aguirre is joined by fellow Big Island artist John Ferdico, who works in photography and mixed-media sculpture.

More than 340 artists from across the state submitted work to the team of judges for the juried exhibition, he said. Jost was joined by Deputy Director Allison Wong and Associate Contemporary Art Curator Inger Tully, and Contemporary Art Curator James Jensen in choosing the 11 artists.

“As we went through the review process, a number of possibilities for a more focused exhibition became obvious, and ultimately we selected a group of artists whose works resonate strongly in a kind of dialogue,” Jensen said in announcing the participating artists late last year.

Upon notification, the artists have 10 months to create a body of work for the “Artists of Hawaii 2013” exhibition, he noted.

“I’m honored and humbled to have been chosen to participate alongside so many talented artists here in Hawaii,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre, a long-time resident of Kailua-Kona and an active participant in the Island’s art community, is one of just two artists from Hawaii Island tapped to participate this year.

“I made my first ceramic piece when I was in kindergarten. It was a blue ashtray with my palm print in the middle. From the moment I saw that a malleable piece of dirt could be turned into a rock hard waterproof item, I was hooked on clay. Much later in my career – age 7 – I clinched a win in a local poster contest and I knew then I was destined to be an artist,” Aguirre said.

On a more serious note, she said, “I reference art, contemporary culture, religion, mythology and other forms of social determinism to engage my subjects in activities that confront the viewer with the results of the human condition.

“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,” she said.

Aguirre received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Southern California, and a Master’s Degree in Art Education at San Francisco State University.

She moved to Hawaii Island in 2001. Forty-five years after making that fateful ashtray (and many shows and awards later) Aguirre’s work is now exhibited and collected internationally.

Launched in 1950, this biannual Honolulu Museum of Art exhibition, highlighting the talents of artists throughout the state, has evolved over the years.

In 2013, organizers say, the focus is on fewer artists with more work presented by each of the participants.

— Find out more:

If You Play With Fire (Photo courtesy of Amber Aguirre)

If You Play With Fire (Photo courtesy of Amber Aguirre)


* Amber Aguirre, Hawaii Island
Media: Ceramic

* Drew Broderick, Oahu
Media: Mixed-media sculpture and installation

* Clarence Chun, Oahu
Media: Painting

* Kandi Everett, Oahu
Media: Mixed-media works on paper

* John Ferdico, Hawaii Island
Media: Photography and mixed-media sculpture

* Yumiko Glover, Oahu
Media: Painting

* Roberta Griffith, Kauai
Media: Mixed-media sculpture and installation

* Ryan Higa, Oahu
Media: Painting and sculpture

* Chris Ritson, Oahu
Media: Mixed-media sculpture and video

* Russell Sunabe, Oahu
Media: Painting

* William Williams III, Oahu
Media: Painting and drawing

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