A fascinating new installation of historical views of Honolulu and portraits of Hawaiian royalty opens this June at the Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA). Honolulu Cityscape: 1850s is presented as part of the museum’s offerings marking the 150th anniversary of the Kamehameha Day celebration in Hawai‘i. The focused exhibition will include works of art from HoMA’s renowned collection and select institutional and private loans that depict the growing 19th-century city as a global connector at the crossroads of the Pacific.
Honolulu Cityscape will be on view at HoMA June through August 2022. It is curated by Tory Laitila, the museum’s curator of textiles and historic arts of Hawai‘i.
“This spotlight exhibition of 19th-century renderings of the Honolulu cityscape and surrounding landscape is a wonderful way to honor the landmark anniversary of Kamehameha Day and offers visitors an appealing entrée into the visual culture of the time,” Laitila said.
Kamehameha Day was initiated in 1872 to honor King Kamehameha I, also known as Kamehameha the Great, and recognize his unification of the Hawaiian Islands in 1810. Honolulu was named as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i in 1845, and with its bustling natural harbor, the city soon became the cosmopolitan epicenter of the Islands.
Honolulu Cityscape: 1850s will feature prints, watercolors and drawings depicting well-known Honolulu landmarks and businesses from the mid-19th century that still exist today. The exhibition will also include Paul Emmert’s complete series of engravings depicting the somber 1855 funeral procession of King Kamehameha III, which blended Hawaiian tradition with English practices and included well-known figures of the day, as well as a diverse cross section of the city’s inhabitants.
mong the artists included in the installation are George Henry Burgess (1831-1905), James Patton Chamberlain (1835-1911), Paul Emmert (1826-1867), George E. Perine (1837-1885), John Prendergast (1815-unknown) and James Gay Sawkins (1806-1878).
“This exhibition reflects HoMA’s commitment to reactivate the museum’s exceptional permanent collection and prioritize projects that resonate with the communities we serve,” Halona Norton-Westbrook, director of the Honolulu Museum of Art, said.
Several related programs have been organized alongside the installation. For details, please visit honolulumuseum.org.
About the Honolulu Museum of Art
A vital part of Hawaiʻi’s cultural landscape, HoMA is a unique gathering place where art, global worldviews, culture and education converge in the heart of Honolulu. In addition to an internationally renowned permanent collection, the museum houses innovative exhibitions, an art school, an independent art house theatre, a café and a museum shop, within one of the most beautiful, iconic buildings in Hawaiʻi.
The museum inspires and uplifts the community through transformative art experiences that celebrate creativity, cultivate wonder, foster empathy and enhance knowledge in order to deepen our connections with one another and the world we share.