The Kaua‘i Museum’s Mezzanine Gallery, a bastion for locally-produced and locally-themed artwork, will be kicking off its exhibit of ocean photography by Bruna Stude, titled “Moana,” the Hawaiian word for ocean, with an opening reception next week.
According to a written statement from Stude, the “new series of assemblages and black and white photographs explore a different vision through her mental landscape and the ocean’s physical presence.”
The exhibit will be the first to be installed during Anne Punohu’s term as the museum’s new Mezzanine Gallery coordinator.
“Photography is such an amazing medium. It is such a powerful tool,” Punohu said. “Getting the right photographer and the right picture together can be emblazened in one’s mind forever.”
Former Mezzanine Gallery Director L.J.C. Shimoda had originally arranged Stude’s exhibit.
“Some people are going to look at the work and think that it’s very serene, but I know what Bruna went through to get those shots, to get those animals to be in that moment with her,” Shimoda said yesterday. “They really get my heart pumping.”
Stude, who was featured in Hanapepe’s TimeSpace Gallery last year, grew up near Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast on the Adriatic Sea and spent much of her life on the open ocean before moving to Kaua‘i six years ago.
“Some of my underwater photographs come from other parts of the Pacific and other oceans — depicting sea creatures … corals, whales, dolphins and sharks,” Stude said in her 2007 proposal to The Kaua‘i Museum. “Regardless of the geographical location, my work is always personal, my subjects are always familiar, it is all about ‘moana.’”
Punohu explained the criteria that all potential artists must meet: a connection to the local community.
“It has to have an emotional connection. For it to make sense for here, it has to mean something to Kaua‘i,” Punohu said. “Anything ocean-related has something to do with local people. This art will resound really clearly because it evokes an emotional memory.”
“The ocean represents such a huge part of the culture and the life. Every aspect of life on the island is about the ocean,” Stude said. “We are surrounded by it and that’s the place that I have the most love for, that I’m most comfortable in, where I live and work, and what brought me to the island.”
The exhibit, which is scheduled to run from July 24 through Oct. 2, will include photos both large and small, some of which will be close-up shots of opihi shells.
“Opihis represent not only a source of food but also, a nostalgic tie to times gone by. I believe I was able to capture all those meanings and my personal feelings in my photographs,” Stude said in the proposal. “They reveal a closer look at the beauty of form in the play on light, and celebrate this tiny creature, anew.”
“I will have images of the creatures, but also of the emptiness. That’s the balance of what we still have and what we should cherish,” Stude said in a phone interview. “The images are about the beauty of the (empty) ocean and the life in the ocean.”
The exhibit will also feature her recently published book, “In-Sight,” Stude said.
“I would expect there to be a few surprises,” Punohu said. “Everyone will just have to come to see what goes up on the wall.”
The Mezzanine Gallery at The Kauai Museum in Lihu‘e is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The reception, which will include pupu, refreshments and Stude’s introductions to the pieces, will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 24.
All of the work will be available for purchase for the duration of the exhibit.
• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org