The Art of Trash on Maui began in 1996, continued until 2003, then took a five-year break until last year when the Community Work Day Program and SharingAloha revived the show as its prime sponsors.
SharingAloha Executive Director Wilma Nakamura, an artist and the show’s curator, is again in charge of making this event happen. It’s a commendable effort—the show raises consciousness about ecology, the environment and trash. It has inspired 33 artists to create 52 pieces, and again this year, half of the gallery is filled with art created by the students of Pōmaika‘i Elementary School in Kahului, the state’s only arts emersion school.
Deybra Fair’s Body Snatch-her earned the first-place award. Deybra is widely known for her whimsical and humorous work; however, this piece is anything but whimsical and humorous. Juror Ono said, “It’s macabre and haunted, kind of like an ancient crumbling amusement park.”
Pōmaika‘i Elementary School students caught their Art of Trash entry in a lost fishing net to show how our beaches are being damaged by refuse.
Indeed, it’s a headless female torso wrapped in barbed wire in a screened frame standing on a box placed on a stool. Looking behind the torso, one cannot help but see that she appears to be badly bruised. In front of her reproductive organ the artist has fashioned a chastity belt, but the use of a hinge leads to an ambiguous interpretation. The torso is covered with flower tattoos. The head, painted silver with thick red lips, is in a box lying on its side wearing leopard sunglasses. At the opening, the artist came dressed like the mannequin complete with leopard glasses and head in a box.
The piece appears to be about domestic violence or sexual assault or both. The artist has placed a poetic note in the basket head to further elucidate the work. It clearly depicts a painful image; however, it neither identifies the perpetrator nor does it attack or even appear to defend itself. It’s more a statement about the effect than about what to do. It’s a powerful image.
Second prize went to John Wilson III for his two miniature motorcycles, Harley & Honda. The work is beautifully executed and would be the perfect addition to a bike enthusiast’s curio shelf.
Third prize went to pointillist master Ken Kennell for Windmusic, a sculpture crafted from a rusty pipe, bicycle wheel and some brilliantly crafted winged musical notes of sheet metal. This work would be at home in any Maui backyard.
Apart from these prize winners, there is much to see and enjoy in this show. Every piece has a story behind it.
Scavenger by Tim Pierpoint is made entirely of beer and ale bottle caps. Did the artist imbibe all those beverages?
Terri Conlon, who used beverage containers for her work in a very different way, crafted couture-quality accessories out of pop-tops. Her handbag, bracelet and fanny pack are stylish and practical. These would be very comfortable in any Rodeo Drive boutique.
Marty LaFollette’s Drift Castle is actually a fountain made of driftwood, pebbles and stone precisely crafted into a fantastic image. One can imagine the artist strolling along the beach gathering his material.
Christina McDonald’s vibrant collage, Abundance, is one of the few two-dimensional works in the show. The media tends to lend itself more readily to three-dimensional objects. However, her piece leaps off the wall, embracing one’s eye with its fine composition, vivid colors and feeling of plenty.
Worm is back with two beautifully crafted chrome and glass tables. One, Abracadabra, The Road to Hāna, would be a nice addition to a high-tech decorated kitchen or dining room. His camshaft end table would look great in anyone’s home.
The show takes no commission from the artists. Therefore, if you wanted that Harley & Honda work, for example, you would be content to know the $200 was going to the artist.