Solomon Enos - ‘Ōnaehana Malu - Peace Systems
September 8, 2023-December 15, 2023
Location: Elevator Gallery
This is a body of work created during a trip in August 2023 to Bikini and neighboring atolls in the Marshall Islands. The participants included Marshallese and international creatives, with the goal of investigating and experiencing first-hand the impact of climate change compounded by the legacy of nuclear testing in the pacific. As a Native Hawaiian Artist, I have been working with Marshallese communities in Majuro and home in Honolulu to create murals and graphic novels about this multifaceted and ongoing tragedy, and after visiting islands that have become ghost-towns due to radioactive contamination, the trauma of the loss of land and history has had a massive inspirational impact on me.
I took these panels and drawings with me onto the islands we visited, which were once gems in a ring of thriving reefs, and what emerged in my pieces happened automatically, with myself as the medium. The message I received was this: if we can harness great power to facilitate destruction, so too can we move in the polar opposite direction, and turn our hands, minds and hearts to profound systems of peace. What follows are cryptic future technologies to heal and channel new growth into islands and lands affected by climate change and pollution of every kind. These structures manifest as strange dancing forms made of noble plastics and other benign materials.
This work is a body of concept art that will inform new larger works at a later time, as part of a collective exhibition with the participants of this timely and paradigm-shifting expedition.
Solomon Robert Nui Enos is a Native Hawaiian artist, illustrator, and visionary. Born and raised in Makaha Valley (O‘ahu, Hawai‘i), Solomon hails from the well-known Enos ‘ohana. Solomon has been making art for more than 30 years and he is adept at artistic expression in a wide variety of media including oil paintings, book illustrations, murals, and game design. A self-described “Possibilist” Solomon’s art expresses an informed aspirational vision of the world at its best via contemporary and traditional art that leans towards Sci-Fi and Fantasy. His work touches on themes like collective-consciousness, ancestry and identity, our relationship with our planet, and all through the lens of his experience as a person indigenous to Hawai’i. Solomon has exhibited in Biennial X (Honolulu Museum of Art), 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (Queensland Art Gallery), CONTACT art exhibitions, and others. His work is held in private collections and in the public collections of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Hawai'i State Art Museum. He has led numerous community mural projects and has received art commissions for hotels, corporate offices, public buildings, and schools in Hawai'i. His latest works include murals and augmented-reality installations for Google and Disney.