Waimea resident Andy Behrle is one of 18 artists who has created new artwork for Honolulu Museum of Art’s Artists of Hawaii Now exhibition, which will remain on display through early 2022.
For the exhibition, Behrle created Ku’u Hae Aloha (My Beloved Flag), a digital video artwork that reimagines a historic quilt from the museum’s collection. Rather than being made of fabric, Behrle’s Hawaiian flag quilt uses video footage of water that he collected from around the state.
“Imagine the colors of the Hawaiian flag are replaced by moving images of water. The blue fabric is replaced with video footage of calm waters swirling at Pu’uhonua o Honaunau, red is replaced with sunset soaked waves lapping the fishpond beach at Kaloko-Honokohau, and white is footage from the tidepools in Kapoho before they were covered over by the 2018 Kilauea eruption,” Behrle said.
All together, the different textures of light reflecting off of water are projected onto the gallery wall, Behrle’s new version being the same size as the original quilt.
The original quilt, created over 100 years ago by an unknown artist, will be on display at the Oahu museum alongside Behrle’s new interpretation.
“It is important to me that we recognize the traditions of the past as we look to better understand our role as stewards of these islands,” Behrle added.
For this project, the artist collected video footage from locations across Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and Kahoolawe, and created separate compositions for each island.
“Originally, the plan was for me to travel to all eight major islands, but, of course, COVID changed the plan,” Behrle explained, noting he feels extremely fortunate to have been able to make his planned trip to Kahoolawe with Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission. “I have been invited to create artworks in some amazing places around the world, but working with the folks at KIRC and spending time on Kahoolawe is a highlight of my professional life and was a deeply moving personal experience.”
In 2019, while he was living on Maui, Behrle created a public art installation titled, “lost and found” as the first project of Wailuku’s Small Town Big Art public art initiative. That artwork was a video recreation of the stained glass windows of a Maui church lost to fire in 1977 using footage of local waters flowing through Maui’s Iao Valley. In 2018, Behrle was invited to create site-specific artworks for light-art festivals in Germany, Tunisia, and Seattle. He has exhibited in galleries and museums around the country. Behrle recently had work included in Wailoa Center’s MidSummer Art Celebration.
Artists of Hawaii Now features groundbreaking artists from around the state who model how creatives can lead the way toward a more just and sustainable tomorrow. The artists encompass a broad spectrum of experience, from emerging to established. Some have never shown in a gallery before, while others have been featured in national and international collections.
Through bold, boundary-pushing approaches, the 18 artists featured in this exhibition ignite conversations through community-centered collaboration — re-envisioning Hawaii’s past, present, and future through 13 original, placed-based installations utilizing a wide variety of mediums including technology, performance, site-specific installations, and traditional art practices.
Artists of Hawaii Now also features work by another Hawaii Island resident, Lanakila Mangauil, as well as many other artists with ties to the Big Island. The exhibition is open to the public through Jan. 16, 2022.
To learn more about the exhibition, visit https://honolulumuseum.org/artists-of-hawaii-now/
To learn more about Andy Behrle, visit https://andybehrle.com.