October 25, 2017 - Honolulu Biennial Foundation - An Open Boat
October 25, 2017

Honolulu Biennial Foundation

Left to right: Scott Lawrimore, Nina Tonga and Jens Hoffmann in Honolulu, August 2017. Photo courtesy of Honolulu Biennial Foundation.

An Open Boat
March 8–May 5, 2019


Honolulu Biennial Foundation (HBF), which presents Honolulu Biennial, announces the title of Honolulu Biennial 2019 (HB19), An Open Boat, following an announcement last month of the appointment of Jens Hoffmann as Artistic Director and Scott Lawrimore and Nina Tonga as Curators of the second edition of Honolulu Biennial.

“We are enthused about the incredibly dynamic profiles of our Artistic Director and Curators. All three have a history of making innovative exhibitions of pressing issues with depth and sensitivity to place, occasion and history,” shares Isabella Ellaheh Hughes and Katherine Ann Leilani Tuider, Directors and co-founders of HBF.

Hoffmann shares, “The title of the second  Honolulu Biennial, An Open Boat, alludes to a wide net of references. It refers to the Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoes such as the Hawaiian waʻa kaulua, which were used to explore and settle the Pacific. The title points to the refugee boats seen around the world for decades, ships that are filled with hope and uncertainty. An Open Boat is about the possibility of an exhibition as an open vessel of artistic creativity and intellectual exploration following the free flowing currents of the ocean and welcoming passengers/participants/audiences for short trips and long voyages. The exhibition becomes a vulnerable and unprotected ferry of visions, emotions, ideas and desires that will take the audience and participants across the sea and on an archipelagic journey with a cargo of issues addressing the world today.”

The graphic identity for the second Honolulu Biennial was developed by Honolulu-born and San Francisco-based graphic designer, Jon Sueda of Stripe, evoking ideas of archipelagic thinking, island navigation, the vastness of the ocean and highlighting a network of cultural, economical and political connections across the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

The dates for Honolulu Biennial, which in its second edition will continue to be a multi-venue arts festival are as follows: March 8-May 5, 2019.  

“Honolulu Biennial is an opportunity to position Pacific dialogs in global contexts that transcend nationalism, regionalism and isolationism. Hawaiʻi, as our archipelagic point of departure, is an intersection of cultures formed by distinct experiences of islands and island-nations and patterns of oceanic migration and exchange that offers an unstable though forward-looking lens in which to engage the world’s relationship to this place,” share Hoffmann, Lawrimore and Tonga in a joint statement. “We look forward to working together to present a second edition that builds on the successes of the first by expanding its reach to include artists from the Americas and Southeast Asia, satellite projects located on a neighbor island, new venues in Honolulu, and more public programming.”

Artistic Director and Curator bios

Jens Hoffmann, born 1974 in San José, Costa Rica, Artistic Director, HB19, is a writer and exhibition-maker based in New York. He is currently Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Jewish Museum, New York and Susanne Feld Hillberry Chief Curator-at-Large at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. In addition he is Co-Artistic Director of FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art (opening 2018). He was curator for the 2nd San Juan Triennial, 12th Istanbul Biennial, 9th Shanghai Biennial among other large scale international exhibitions. Since 2006 Hoffmann has been curator and senior advisor for North and Latin American Art at the Kadist Art Foundation in San Francisco. He is the artistic director of Fundación Arte in Buenos Aires.

His most recent book (Curating) From Z to A is forthcoming with JRP|Ringier, Zurich, in the November of 2017. He is the Founding Editor of The Exhibitionist: Journal on Exhibition Making as well as Editor-at-Large for Mousse Magazine.  

Scott Lawrimore, born 1970, Los Angeles, USA, Curator, HB19, is an accomplice to artists and exhibition caretaker based in Honolulu. He is currently Exhibit Designer at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum—the Hawaiʻi State Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Previously, he was Installation Manager of the 2017 Honolulu Biennial, Director of the Jacob Lawrence Gallery at the University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design, Deputy Director of Collections and Exhibitions of the Frye Art Museum, and founder of his own exhibition space, Lawrimore Project. In these, and other appointments over a 20-year career, he has been caretaker of over 300 exhibitions.

As a writer and art historian, he was the Founding Editor of the Jake Journal at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, and has contributed to, published, or edited numerous exhibition and museum publications including Leo Saul Berk: Structure and Ornament (UW Press, 2015), Mark Tobey | Teng Baiye: Seattle | Shanghai (UW Press, 2014), and Buster Simpson // Surveyor (UW Press, 2013).

Nina Tonga, born 1983, Auckland, New Zealand, Curator, HB19,  is an art historian and Curator Pacific Art at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Te Papa. She is from the villages of Vaini and Kolofo’ou in Tonga and lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She holds a Master of Arts specializing in contemporary Pacific art and is a doctoral candidate in Art History at the University of Auckland. Her current research focuses on contemporary Pacific art in New Zealand and the Pacific with a particular interest in internet art from 2000 to present.

Nina has been involved in a number of writing and curatorial projects with Pacific artists from New Zealand and the wider Pacific. In 2012 she was an associate curator for the exhibition Home AKL, the first major group exhibition of contemporary Pacific art developed by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Other curatorial projects include Koloa et Al at Fresh Gallery Otara, Tonga ‘i Onopooni: Tonga Contemporary at Pātaka Art + Museum and most recently Tīvaevae: Out of the Glory Box at Te Papa. Nina is also the co-chairperson of Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust.

To learn more visit: www.honolulubiennial.org


PR contact: Isabella Ellaheh Hughes, Co-Founder and Director
isabella [​at​] honolulubiennial.org / T 808 375 9381

Honolulu Biennial Foundation
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