Honolulu (KHON2) – The Honolulu Museum of Art presents the first solo museum exhibition of Honolulu artist Lauren Hana Chai. Although Chai is well known in the Honolulu community for her colorful paintings, posters, and collectible stickers, this selection of works created over the past nine years focuses attention on her broad and evolving practice.
Raised in Hawai‘i by her Korean grandparents, Chai was the first in her family to be born outside of Korea. When she was eleven her mother disappeared, and works from the series Last Known Locations, produced while a college student in San Francisco, display the artist’s long-held interest in her own family history and address the loss and search for her mother. More recent paintings from the Souls in Motion series bring together personal history with influences from contemporary American culture, Eastern and Western religious symbolism, Korean folk art, and Renaissance paintings, and emphasize the importance of interpersonal connection in the journey toward self-awareness.
During the pandemic, Chai sought to expand her artistic practice beyond pure visual expression and explore all five senses. Residency programs in New York and Pennsylvania offered her the opportunity to work in sculpture, ceramics, and video, which led to a form of personal healing and renewal through multisensory activation. Those experiences come together in the exhibition’s interactive “sensory table,” conceived and designed by the artist, offering items that visitors are invited to view, touch, hear, taste, and smell. To learn more about the exhibit or HoMa, visit honolulumuseum.org