Current Exhibit: Tree of Life

June 4 – September 10, 2017
East-West Center Gallery

The Tree of Life is an archetype, theme, motif, image, spiritual concept, and mythological story that is found through – out the world. The Tree of Life is often understood to connect all forms of creation and is a cosmic conception that connects the heavens, earth, and underworld. It has influenced art creation and visual representation for millennia. These diverse representations have taken influences from indigenous cultures and major religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and other ancient religions.

The Tree of Life has diverse meaning across cultures in Asia. In Hindu mythology, it is the Cosmic Tree, for the Babylonians it was the tree with the divine fruit, for the Zoroastrians it is the Haoma Tree, while in Chinese mythology the one who eats its fruits becomes immortal.

This exhibition is beyond borders and the viewer will see diverse objects from 20 Asian countries. Although the emphasis is on textiles there are also examples of the tree of life image in a multitude of media including paintings, ceramics, basketry, metal work, jewelry, lacquer, stone, wood, and leather.

Handcrafted from natural and sustainable materials, the artwork focuses on traditional and contemporary interpretations of the Tree of Life. The aim of the exhibition is to create awareness about the importance of ecology to stimulate creativity as well as to highlight cultural sustainability. Manjari Nirula, co-curator from India states, “The aim of the exhibition is to create greater awareness about the importance of ecology to stimulate creativity and innovation while highlighting natural as well as cultural sustainability. Craft has the least carbon footprint and that comes through very strongly in this exhibition.”

There are many indigenous cultures in Sarawak, Malaysia that address the concepts of the sacred forest. According to co-curator Edric Ong from Sarawak, Malaysia, “The Tree of Life, known as pohon budi in Malaysian language, is talking about a tree of culture, a tree of civilization, a tree from which mankind evolved. The exhibition builds bridges and healing with its message of peace and love.”

Click here to download the exhibit handout.


East-West Center Gallery
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)

Gallery admission is free.

Hours: Open Weekdays 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and Sundays Noon–4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays, Feb. 20, Apr. 16, May 29

Parking on the UH-Mānoa campus is normally free and ample on Sundays.

Free school & group tours available

For further information: 944-7177
arts@EastWestCenter.org


Final Week: Yangon Echoes: Inside Heritage Homes

Please join us in closing out the exhibit with a talk, “Strategic Importance of Myanmar” by Miemie Winn Byrd, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.

Sunday, May 21, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
East-West Center Gallery
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)


Exhibition: Yangon Echoes: Inside Heritage Homes


January 29 – May 21, 2017

Curators: Virginia Henderson, Tim Webster, Michael Schuster
Photographer: Tim Webster
Installation Design: Lynne Najita
Assistant Curator: Annie Reynolds

Yangon Echoes invites viewers behind the facades of century-old colonial buildings, inside heritage homes, to explore the lives of people living in the city formerly known as Rangoon.

This exhibition explores notions and values of heritage and home at a time of unprecedented change. It presents intimate views of domestic life while tracing the emergence of this city from decades of stagnation to its engagement with a rapidly changing world.

Today, Yangon is probably changing more rapidly than any other urban space in the world. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is confronting the juggernaut of global capital after fifty years of isolation under socialist military rule.

Encountering this sudden turnaround, Yangon residents are grappling with these questions: What is the role of heritage at such a time of profound political, economic and social change? What do heritage and home mean to each of us? How are we informed by the past and what are our means for survival amidst the challenges of great flux?

Yangon Echoes, an oral history listening project, investigates multicultural diversity and individual everyday lived experiences, revealing the vulnerabilities and pressures on Yangon’s people and its heritage today.

The storytellers share thoughts and feelings, speaking of joy and tragedy, simple pleasures and aching issues. Told with courage and charm, the informal stories of home offer insight into what has happened and is happening to the city.

This exhibition, a popular history of buildings, charts social space and urban folklore, linking past to present via living memories.

Click here to download the exhibit handout.


East-West Center Gallery
John A. Burns Hall, 1601 East-West Road
(corner Dole St. & East-West Rd.)

Gallery admission is free.

Hours: Open Weekdays 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. and Sundays Noon–4:00 p.m.
Closed Saturdays, Feb. 20, Apr. 16, May 29

Parking on the UH-Mānoa campus is normally free and ample on Sundays.

Free school & group tours available

For further information: 944-7177
arts@EastWestCenter.org