Celebrating Sally French’s Art

Sally French’s Black Spring. Photo courtesy Bruna Stude’

It was amid the riveting, recent news of the death of Osama bin Laden that I was sent an email quoting Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. on the topic of celebrating the demise of another human being: “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

It made me think of all that is crazy in this world – fanatical and foolish – and made me want to fall to my knees in gratitude for all we have to be thankful for on this beautiful, blessed Garden Isle.

So here are some things we can be joyful about, things we can truly celebrate …

Some of our best art has always held a mirror to our time …

With a bit of beauty, a bit of humor, a nod to violence, pop culture and the context of our own cache of images, Kaua’i artist Sally French whimsically reflects our time, using the same sort of juxtaposed imagery used by famed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, with a tad more realism and contemporary references (like, say, a white Pikachu contrasted on a blood-red canvas). It also seems her balloon-like animals reference the work of Jeff koons, but that could just be me. French’s latest works, titled “The Black Spring” and “Black Rain,” are on display at galerie 103 in Kukui’ula Village in Poipu. French, whose notoriety outreaches the confines of our island by a long shot, describes her latest pieces as a chronicling of the “events in our unsettling world.”

Teamwork created this poster

The collection includes work that spans the last decade, and some that has toured Mainland museums. Galerie 103 owner Bruna Stude says much of French’s imagery from previous work persists through her new work, though brought forward in a different context. French explains that it was either her or the world spinning into dark places that affected her work, noting the onset of the spring season also played a key role. Viewers can decide for themselves whether the blues, pinks, yellows, flowers, birds and insects allude to spring or something else. The exhibit is on display through July 2. An informal discussion and walk-through of her work will take place at the gallery at 6 p.m. June 16. To learn more, go to galerie103.com …

Speaking of art, the Grove Farm and Waioli Mission House museums will host a weeklong Plein Air Paintings fundraiser June 5-11, when 13 artists will paint various scenes of Kaua’i. Following a week of capturing the fleeting beauty of our island, an event for the public will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 11, where guests can view and purchase the paintings and meander the plantation-era grounds. Cost is $10. For more information, call Killermann at 335-5551 …

Good story about the terrific poster for Saturday’s fundraising dinner for Kaua’i Pacific School at one of the island’s newest hot spots, The Tavern at Princeville.

Lihu‘e seniors donated 10 ukulele and three keyboards to Kapa‘a High. Photo courtesy Hans Hellriegel

Liane Wilson, chairwoman of the event – and mother of Bianca Wilson, a fourth-grader at the school – isn’t an artist but knew what she wanted. So she called Lisa Seed – mother of students Koko and Elijah Seed-Arita – and explained she wanted it to have an elegant feel to keep with the theme of the evening: “Old Vine” wines that are limited production, and are not readily available for retail on Kaua’i. Lisa worked with Michael Mackintosh, her partner in Sol Seed Design, and did the layout. Good teamwork! “Toast of the Island” begins at 5:30 p.m. and costs $100. Live entertainment will include Steve Dubey and the Ne’ena Jazz Trio. For more information, contact Liane Wilson, 808-557-4984 or via e-mail: lianeinkauai@aol.com…

Commodore Larry Richardson, who heads up the Sea Scouts here, has helped make May 21 “Kaua’i Safe Boating Day,” which will kick off National Safe Boating Week, offering safe boating as an interactive experience. The day will include an open house at the Coast Guard station at Nawiliwili Harbor, a tour of its boats, free vessel safety checks, as well as toys and stickers for keiki between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Of course, in keeping with Richardson’s volunteerism, the event is free. For more information, call 652-0802 …

In the spirit of giving and reaching out, the ‘ukulele class of Lihu’e Neighborhood Senior Center donated 10 ukuleles and three keyboards to the Kapa’a High School music department. In an act of reciprocal giving, the students performed Polynesian dances from their repertoire, according to director Herman Paleka. Known for their happy, strumming ‘ukuleles, the senior ‘ukulele group harmonizes songs in English, Japanese, Filipino, Hawaiian and hapa-fusion. Hana hou, musicians! …

Brad Snyder, Judy Lenthall, John Sydnet Yamane, Tanya Joaquim and Kelvin Moniz. Photo courtesy Kristen Collins

Kaua’i Repertory Theatre Company will host a free stage reading of what will be their theatrical debut tentatively titled Hawai’i’s Comic History, a 90-minute comedy that uses three actors to portray more than 60 characters ranging from President Barack Obama to Don Ho, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, at the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel. Reservations are required, though the event is free. Email info@kauairep.org …

Congratulations to Kaua’i Independent Food Bank, which was awarded recognition in the public charity category April 28 at the 17th annual 2011 Hawaii BBB Torch Awards. Kaua’i was one of two islands to be in the winners’ circle (the other was Oahu). The west side’s Talk Story Bookstore of Hanapepe also made a name for itself by winning the small business category …

The County of Kaua’i and Kaua’i Board of Realtors will host a free educational series from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 17, during this year’s housing fair, which will include lessons on property management, loan options, insurance options and information for those first-time homebuyers out there, at the County Pi’ikoi Building (across from Lihu’e Post Office) …

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