This spring, check out O‘ahu’s exciting, cutting-edge arts and cultural festivals along with the island’s burgeoning restaurant scene.
O‘ahu’s inaugural Honolulu Biennial March 8 through May 8 is a celebration of contemporary artists and cultures of the Pacific Rim. More than 30 artists’ works will be featured at Ward Village, Honolulu Hale (City Hall), Foster Botanical Garden, the Arts at Marks Garage in historic Chinatown, Bishop Museum, and Honolulu Museum of Art. The biennial positions Honolulu as a major East-meets-West cultural hub where art and ideas from around the Pacific region are developed and exchanged. Panel discussion with artists, film screenings, and workshops for families with young children are also offered.
Mele Mei, the annual celebration of Hawai‘i’s music, hula, and culture from April through June features live performances at concert halls, hotels, restaurants, beaches, and parks. Witness the incomparable talents of Hawaii’s notable artists performing ‘ukulele, steel guitar, traditional Hawaiian music, slack key guitar, island reggae, rock ’n’ roll, hula, and more. Mele Mei culminates with the 40th annual Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, Hawaii’s most prestigious music awards, on May 20.
MAMo: Maoli Arts Movement
The PAʻI Foundation celebrates the Maoli Arts Movement (MAMo)—dedicated to Native Hawaiian and indigenous artists—throughout May. The extraordinary MAMo Wearable Art Show on May 17 at Hawai‘i Theatre highlights native Hawaiian arts, artists, and cultural practitioners. The MAMo Juried Exhibit at the ARTS at Marks Garage May 10 through 27 showcases both traditional and contemporary artwork from native Hawaiian artists. And MAMo at Pa‘akai Marketplace on May 19 is a Native Hawaiian arts market at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako also featuring live entertainment and a mini fashion show.
Newcomers to O‘ahu’s eclectic restaurant scene include Chinatown’s highly anticipated Senia, a collaboration between chefs Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush with a menu that reflects the melting pot of Hawai‘i’s cultures and Modern American cooking. Nearby, Palate Craft & Eatery is a recent addition to O‘ahu’s ever-growing gastropub scene, with wonderful craft beers, wines, creative cocktails, and food. Kaka‘ako is home to chef Peter Merriman’s recently opened Moku Kitchen, which focuses on Hawai‘i’s rich upcountry farming and ranching heritage. Back in Waikīkī, Mahina & Sun’s at the Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club features chef Ed Kenney’s original take on island food.