Old Dominion University’s Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries will host an exhibition of new works by native Hawaiian artist, illustrator and visionary Solomon Enos exploring the intersection of climate change, indigenous traditions and fantasy.
“Papahānaumoku: A Panoply of New Island Cultures — Works by Solomon Robert Nui Enos” opens Sept. 15 and runs through Dec. 16.
A free opening reception with the artist will take place on from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 14.
In the language of the Hawaiian people, Papahānaumoku describes a mother figure personified by the Earth. She is the creator goddess in Hawaiian mythology.
“These new island cultures are a grand mixture of influences from trips I have taken across the Pacific, as well as experiences I have had growing up in Hawaii,” Enos said. “This show is a conceptual continuation of the peopling of islands, as the effects of climate change reshape our planet’s land masses, ecologies and societies.”
Born and raised in Makaha Valley, Oahu, Hawaii, Enos has made art for 30 years. A self-described “possibilist,” his work expresses ideas about collective consciousness, ancestry and identity, and humankind’s relationship with the planet.
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the United Nations in New York have shown his works. He has created augmented-reality installations for Google and Disney and led numerous community mural projects.
Art featured in the Norfolk show was created especially for the exhibition. Enos made the pieces while working as artist in residence at the Hawaii State Art Museum.
On Sept. 9, the public is invited to watch Enos create a mural inside the Gordon galleries during regular hours, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Working with Solomon Enos to develop this exhibition and programming has been a great pleasure for our entire team,” said Cullen Strawn, executive director for the Arts at ODU. “We look forward to his time here in Norfolk, his interactions with students and the public and his creative contributions to our ‘Blue Connections’ theme. Many campus partners have participated in the efforts, making for a wonderfully robust collaboration.”
ODU’s Annual Campus Theme, “Blue Connections,” is intended to highlight community engagement related to ocean ecosystems and maritime issues.
“We share this one great ocean, and island cultures across the globe face the same challenges and opportunities for solutions,” Enos said “Hopeful visions of thriving island cultures have universal relevancy, as does the thread that underlines just about all the work I am doing: The greatest technological advances are not just the ability to grow new islands, but rather, it is our ability to establish just and equitable societies with which to populate and sustain them.”
The live painting event, opening reception and the exhibition are free and open to the public.
Visitors anywhere in the world can view the exhibition virtually with the help of a telepresence robot nicknamed “Gordon.” The robot can navigate the gallery, raise and lower height, and zoom in on art. Self-guided visits can be reserved weekly through ODUArtsTix.com.
The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries present works by nationally and internationally recognized self-taught artists, contemporary artists working in all media and local and regional artists connected with ODU.
Admission to the galleries is free and open to the public, with parking in the adjacent 45th Street garage. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.