Heʻe Nalu: The Art and Legacy of Hawaiian Surfing

curated by
Carolyn Melenani Kualiʻi
and Ian Kualiʻi

Arts and Letters Nuʻuanu
1164 Nuʻuanu Ave, Honolulu
June 7 – July 21, 2024
Opening Reception:
June 7, 6 – 8pm

Aupuni Space
729 Auahi Street, Honolulu
June 7 – July 3, 2024

manini Gallery
Hawaiʻi Theater Center
1130 Bethel Street, Honolulu
June 7 – August 5, 2024
Gallery Walkthrough:
June 8, 1 – 2pm

In 2023, Heʻe Nalu: The Art and Legacy of Hawaiian Surfing debuted in the Piper Grand Gallery at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ

This exhibition covers 2,000 years of surfing history from the earliest stories of surf deities to contemporary works of art and surfing innovations through the lens of fifteen modern Kānaka ʻŌiwi creatives and cultural practitioners. Heʻe Nalu presents a cyclical narrative rooted in culture, while bringing to light the complicated history that surfing’s Indigenous people have with the Western dominated billion-dollar surfing industry. Yet, surfing has been a sanctuary for Kānaka ʻŌiwi during colonial presence and remains to be an integral part of Kānaka identity. 

In partnership with some of Hawaiʻi’s leading art organizations, we bring to Oʻahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island smaller iterations of Heʻe Nalu: The Art and Legacy of Hawaiian Surfing.  

“With the 2024 Summer Olympic surfing competition upon us, we bring attention to the controversy around Hawaiian nationals denied the ability to compete under the Hawaiian flag. We also stand in solidarity with our Tahitian cousins over the negative environmental impact of the construction of the Olympic surfing judging tower on the coral reef of Teahupoʻo, Tahiti. Me ke aloha pumehana,”
–Kuaʻāina Associates

The original concept for the exhibit, Heʻe Nalu: The Art and Legacy of Hawaiian Surfing was developed in partnership with the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, guest curator, Carolyn Melenani Kualiʻi of Kuaʻāina Associates and artist Ian Kualiʻi.

The story of Heʻe Nalu is told through works by Kānaka ʻŌiwi artists and cultural practitioners:  Cory Kamehanaokalā Holt Taum, Rick San Nicolas, Solomon Enos, Lehuauakea, Tom Pōhaku Stone, Daniel Ikaika Ito, Ian Kualiʻi, Nicole Naone, Pōhaku Kahoʻohanohano, Clifford Kapono, Christopher Kahunahana, Haʻa Keaulana, Akila Aipa, Stephen Hokulani Kupihea and video footage courtesy of Zone Media.