Evolve: Art Against GMOs

The fight against genetically modified organisms has evolved and taken the high-art route.

Galerie 103 will open “Evolve” Saturday, an exhibit featuring an impressive roster of about 40 local and off-island artists, with proceeds going to four nonprofit organizations against GMOs.

“All these artists have graciously donated their work for the exhibition,” said artist Tom Lieber, who is organizing the show. He added he originally offered the artists to take a 25 percent cut from the sales, but this is such a major issue that everyone said, “take it all.”

Proceeds will benefit two local organizations, Kauai Rising and Kauai Seed Bank; and two global groups, Ron Finley Projects and Dr. Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya.

Lieber’s initial idea was to raise money for these four organizations, he said, but the word has been out and other organizations have come forward, so there will be more exhibits.

“This is just the beginning of a series of exhibitions,” he said. “We’re planning concerts, and all of the events that will be organized will be to raise money for the organizations that are educating the people of the island about the hazards of the GMO developments that are happening on this island.”

Lieber, an established artist who lives in Los Angeles and owns a home on Kauai, said he is in a position now where he can access people in the music industry and art world who want to help out in the battle against GMOs.

Some of the artists featured in the exhibit include Julian Schnabel, Dustin Yellin, Kat Cowan, Sally French, Licia McDonald, Sabra Kauka and a few young, unknown artists, said Lieber, who will also have one of his pieces in the show.

“We’re publicizing it all over the planet as Kauai being the epicenter, the real center of this whole GMO situation,” Lieber said. This battle, he said, is to convince GMO companies to stop modifying food and go back to organic farming.

“If I get elected president of the United States, I’m going to make sure there is a water color set in every home and organic seeds,” said Lieber, joking.

Having artwork from artists from all over the world for this exhibit is what thrills Galerie 103 owner Bruna Stude.

“Hopefully, we’ll get some sales so we can support these organizations,” said Stude, adding that not all the work will be about GMOs — it’s about artists expressing how they feel about current issues.

“And I think the world is full of issues,” she said, laughing.

She too will have some of her artwork featured in the exhibit.

One of the gems will be a photograph of Elvis Presley taken by a German photographer on Kauai while Presley was filming Blue Hawaii more than 50 years ago.

Three women artists from India are excited to be showing their art in the United States.

“That’s going to be fantastic,” Lieber said.

Having lived on a boat for many years, Stude dropped anchor on Kauai on Sept. 11, 2001 — “I can’t never forget that day” — and said she opened Galerie 103 in 2009 to fill a void on the island.

“I’m an artist myself, I’m a collector, I collected art from a very young age and when I traveled around the world,” she said. “I felt that we needed on Kauai a place to exhibit work.”

She said there is a talented group of artists on Kauai, but most of them are not showing their work.

Galerie 103 is Stude’s first venture as a gallery owner. The Croatia-born woman said she held many exhibits there so far, from local, Mainland and European artists, and the response from those visiting from metropolitan areas is “tremendous.”

“They really love what we’re doing here,” she said.

Artists are inspired by their surroundings, and that’s why most of the art seen in resort areas picture mountains, according to Stude.

“This art is inspired also by the surroundings, it’s just done in a different way,” she said. “Some of it is more conceptual, some of it is more abstract.”

Evolve opens Saturday, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. And the exhibit will be up until Aug. 31. The art will also be available at www.galerie103.com for purchase.

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