Sharing the Beauty of the Pacific Through Art

The outright beauty of our islands is an inspiration to many artists; reflected in songs, photos, paintings, clothing and crafts. With a home this beautiful, the mediums are endless and inspiration is only a sunset away.

With a lazy Saturday on my hands today, I decided to mosey over to Kapi’olani Park to check out the 13th annual Pacific Islands Arts Festival. Being from Hawaii, the words art and festival in the same line generate a quiver of excitement. It’s safe to say that Hawaii loves their crafts. The circus of island artisans are in town till tomorrow. Be sure to check out this one-of-a-kind event.

When I arrived, I met Nancy Callhoun, the lady responsible for this event. She told me that the Pacific Islands Arts Festival is held every year by the Handcrafters & Artisans Alliance, a non-profit collective of artists in Hawaii who are creating a market for their wares. All artisans in the state of Hawaii are welcome to join, as long as their creations are made only in Hawaii, making this a 100-percent local organization!

The Pacific Islands Arts Festival is their biggest event, however, smaller events are held in the same location every month. All events include music, entertainment and delicious local food, making it a family-friendly activity that everyone would love. Today a hula halau performed as well as a Chinese lion dance group, bringing good luck to all. (Top) Find 100-percent locally handmade items to remember Hawaii by. (Bottom) Nancy Callhoun is the mastermind to the event.

The artists that participate in this event love what they do.

“These events really create a sense of family,” Nancy said. “Some of the vendors are second or third generation artisans. We even have a couple of 95 year olds here! They just love being here and a part of this.”

After talking with Nancy, I made my lap around the booths, when I came upon the Local Sista Company. They were making and giving haku lei demonstrations. Haku can mean to compose or braid, and this style of lei making involves wrapping flowers and ferns with raffia to a base. Usually lei po’o, or head lei, are the most commonly made haku lei, but bracelets and hair accessories are also popular. The ladies’ friendly dispositions were as cheerful as the flowers they were working with, inviting everyone to come and create with them.Turn heads with a handmade Hawaiian haku lei.

In fact, it seemed like everyone was creating. The ladies at Makaha Quilters were making beautiful hand made quilts, children were being encouraged to paint ceramic pieces fresh out of the kiln, fine artists were putting together their next masterpiece while having onlookers give the first splatter. There was even a blacksmith on site pounding red hot steel into what looked like a sword! I could feel a sense of community in the air, of sharing and togetherness over a common, fundamental ground. Being inspired.Makaha Quilters have a colorful selection of beautiful quilts.

As I was leaving the event, I had a warm feeling in my heart that wasn’t coming from the hot late-morning sun. I felt a connection to complete strangers through their smiles and openness, their passion for creating. I would hope that anyone who lives or comes to our islands has a chance to experience something like this and to take part in celebrating Hawaii’s beauty in their own unique way.

THE PACIFIC ISLAND ARTS FESTIVAL • Check out the last day of the event tomorrow • 9am-4pm • Zoo side of Kapi’olani Park •