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Micronesian artwork exhibited at UH West O‘ahu library


Micronesian artwork exhibited at UH West O‘ahu library

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

An art exhibit believed to be the first in Honolulu to highlight the work of contemporary and traditional artists of Micronesian ancestry who live in Hawai‘i is now on display at the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu’s James & Abigail Campbell Library.

“7 Degrees North: The Arts of Micronesia” opened at the library on Feb. 2 and is on view through June 16, 2024. The works of art featured in the exhibit draw upon both traditional Micronesian motifs along with the multi-cultural environment of Hawai‘i.

The curators of “7 Degrees North” are Floyd K. Takeuchi, a writer and photographer who was born and raised in the Marshall Islands, and Margo Vitarelli, a teaching artist and museum educator who grew up on Palau.

“It’s a unique opportunity … for the community at UH West O‘ahu to get a feeling for the contemporary Micronesian community in Hawai‘i,” Takeuchi said.

He continued, “There’s a great migration taking place now, the Micronesian diaspora, of which lots of people are leaving for various reasons — health, economics, education, and also climate change. So this is a chance to see what some of the creators are doing in the community and give people a sense of what they might expect in a few years from the community in general.”

According to a press release, among the featured contemporary artists are Lissette Yamase of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), a portrait artist who uses charcoal, and Eric Cano, a graphic artist on Kaua‘i and from Chuuk in the FSM, who designs Micronesian and Pacific Island inspired clothing. The exhibition includes a video of the theatrical production, “x Other: A Microstory,” by Hawai‘i playwright Daniel A. Kelin II, who spent many years in the Marshall Islands. The recording is courtesy of Kumu Kahua Theatre in downtown Honolulu.

A set of jewelry, including earrings and a necklace.

The traditional artworks featured in the exhibit are made by Ruth Truce, a Palauan coconut basket weaver, and Kora Tilmeowoj, a group of Marshallese women artists from Waipahu Safe Haven Center. The select works include handmade jewelry sets hand woven from coconut fiber and ornamented with shells, a handbag inspired by ammunition boxes, coconut hat with floral spray, head leis, and shell earrings.

Also on view are photographs by co-curator Takeuchi, who was born and raised in the Marshall Islands and who travels extensively in the Pacific region.

“Those (photographs) give a sense of place and people, a mix of both,” Takeuchi said.

Takeuchi noted that the timing of the library exhibit connects with the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture (FestPAC), which will be held June 6 to 16 in Honolulu. UH West O‘ahu is one of the official venues of the festival, the world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders, according to the FestPAC website.

According to the release, “Micronesia” is a cultural and geographic term referring to independent island nations and two U.S. territories in the northwestern Pacific. The countries include the Marshall Islands, FSM (which encompasses four states — Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae — and about 607 islands), Palau, Nauru, Kiribati, the U.S. territory of Guam, and the U.S. commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Artwork in this exhibit comes primarily from the Marshall Islands, FSM, and Palau.

“7 Degrees North: The Arts of Micronesia” is free and open to the public during the library’s building hours. Contact the library at 808-689-2700 or

To see more photos, visit the 7 Degrees North Exhibit album on Flickr.

Wooden carving of a miniature canoe.

Image courtesy of UHWO Staff