“Halau – A Life In Hula,” a photo exhibit featuring photographs from my documentary project on Halau Na Mamo O Pu’uanahulu and its Kumu Hula, Sonny Ching, opens on Dec. 28, 2013 at the Gallery at Ward Centre in Honolulu. This exhibit will run until January 30, 2014. The Gallery at Ward Centre is an artists’ cooperative, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to exhibit there the past two years.
The focus of my “halau” project was to show what it takes to produce the beauty and precision we’ve seen on stages and hula mounds. Hula performances by the top halau are stunning, no doubt about it, and are a popular subject for photographers. But I was much more interested in the story away from the limelight, the hours of tough, physical work, the dedication, and the commitment to be a part of a successful halau. And few are as successful as Halau Na Mamo O Pu’uanahulu. Kumu Hula Sonny Ching oversees a halau in Hawaii with members from young keiki to grandmothers, and a huge number of teens and young and middle-aged adults. The halau also is active in Japan, with chapters in Tokyo and Osaka, overseen by Kumu Hula Lopaka Igarta Devera.
I was fortunate to have received the blessing from Kumu Hula Sonny Ching to become a part of the halau’s ohana. And for a year and a half, I spent many hours photographing the dancers’ many activities, in Hawaii and Japan.
The photographs chosen for this upcoming exhibit highlight my sense of the discipline, dedication and joy that are central to a “life in Hula.” I hope you will have the opportunity to see the exhibit.