Hawaii is as gorgeous a place as there is in America, or anywhere in the world for that matter. This stretch of small volcanic islands that makes up the United States’ 50th state is home to some of the most incredible natural scenery imaginable. Located deep in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is nearly 2,000 miles to the closest continent, yet these islands are home to almost one and a half million Americans.
While Hawaii is known for its incredible beaches and surfing, volcanic mountains and rainforest, and incredible natural splendors, the local culture is also a big part of the appeal to America’s most unique state.
Hawaii has a rich history, starting with the settling of the island by Polynesian explorers. From that time, the Polynesians built a rich and incredible civilization before European colonization led to the decline of their population and turmoil on the islands. Eventually, American efforts to integrate Hawaii as a state won out and Hawaii became a part of the U.S.
However, Hawaii’s heritage as a native Polynesian civilization still lingers today on the islands. It is celebrated by tourists in the forms of luaus and leis and is ever-present in the local food scenes. While much of Hawaii’s culture has become Americanized, 10% of the population is native Hawaiian, and their cultural influence remains hugely important to the state.
The Hawaiian art scene is one area of Hawaiian society where the native influences are still heavily felt. Hawaii has an art scene that is entirely unique and separate from the larger United States art scene, and it attracts attention from around the world.
Let’s look at two of the centers of art culture in Hawaii, the primary places and events that define how Hawaiian art is perceived.