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by Ku‘ulei Funn and Melissa Mejia

During the First Friday Gallery Walk in August, Filipino entertainers joined several of the artists at the tower to share their culture. The Kalipahu Dance Company shared traditional Filipino dance, and the Red Eyed Jedis did hip-hop.

“ It’s amazing that we got to do something like this,” said Ruchelle Aurellano, 20, of Waipahu, a dancer for the Kalipahu Dance Company. She said the dance company’s name came from the words Kalihi and Waipahu, places where the dancers are from.

The artists walked the audience through the exhibit to share their inspiration from their art.
Alicia Ajolo, 23, from Moanalua, displays a typical “mom-and-pop store” with products such as garlic, ginger, and a few household items. Her display suggests an old grocery store and includes a green display shelf of boxes of Marungay seeds. Ajolo said the boxes are free to the public as long as they will try to plant the seeds and carry on her grandmother’s legacy.

Ajolo’s inspiration comes from her early childhood when she would sit and listen to her grandmother tell stories while preparing Filipino food.

“ It was a very Filipino time for me,” said Ajolo, who is committed to perpetuating her grandmother’s legacy through her art.

On the front of the boxes of seeds, Ajolo incorporated an image of her grandmother, and on the back cover of the package, she added her grandmother’s chicken marungay recipe.

Ajolo said that her grandmother taught her hard work and self-sufficiency and taking care of herself. These are the values she would like to carry on.

Christopher Aradanas 29, of Mililani, uses photography in a personal way. His photographs are about identity and use introspection to discover the layers of self. His exhibition, Self-Portraits, is a series of three-dimensional faces that he formed from his own face.

“ It’s like peeling a layer of a person … an accumulation of different layers that form your identity,” Aradanas said.

Aaron Padilla, 32, of Mililani, is influenced by traditional Philippine writing and characters. Padilla received his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Pacific Lutheran in Tacoma, Wash., and his Master’s degree in ceramics from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

Padilla creates his own language with hand-made ceramics by abstracting Philippine writing and combining the resulting forms with traditional Hawaiian imagery.

“ My series is based on the ‘Art of Fiction,’ opposite from ‘Art of Fact,” said Padilla.

The Contemporary Filipino-American Artists of Hawai‘i exhibition will be on display until Oct. 3, 2006 at The Contemporary Museum at First Hawaiian Center, 999 Bishop St. in downtown Honolulu. For more information visit the museum’s Web site at www.tcmhi.com or call (808) 526-0232.


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