Art Gallery

Hawai'i Pacific University recognizes that exposure to art in various media enriches the lives of its community of students, faculty, and staff. Also, the University is a longtime supporter of the arts in the public community.

The primary focus of the gallery is the showing of art in a variety of media produced by artists who live and work in Hawaii. The gallery provides 2,000 square feet of open exhibition space allowing for wall-mounted and free-standing displays.

The Hawai‘i Pacific University Art Gallery is pleased to announce its 2019-20 EXHIBITION SCHEDULE (PDF). The primary focus of the gallery is to showcase the work of artists who live and work in Hawai‘i. HPU Gallery Curator, Sanit Khewhok, noted, “Our gallery program continues to draw the attention of artists and audiences alike.  Annually we review far more portfolios of work than we can possibly accommodate.  For this reason, we are scheduled to have paired artist exhibits this year.  Our selection includes an exciting diversity of media and styles.”


Elegy for the Earth: Recent Photographs by David Ulrich
May 2 - June 4, 2021

Artist Statement:

Climate change is the great existential reality of our time. How we approach this crisis will affect life on earth for all present and future generations. In spite of our collective ideals, irreversible damage to the environment is imminent and represents both an urgent local and global concern. Through photographs of two acutely threatened landscapes—Hawai‘i and the Oceano Dunes on the Central California coast—I explore the deep paradox between the devout, powerful presence of the land and environmental loss or damage.

Divided into a natural preserve and an area devoted to vehicular recreation, the Oceano Dunes are unlike anything I have ever experienced. The ephemeral, ever-changing landscape expresses a sublime order and reflects the many correlations between nature and the dynamics of the inner world. The place and the images I have tried to capture remind me of Mark Rothko’s “silence and solitude” that expresses the resonance and subtle dimensions of consciousness—not the dominion of thought, but the primacy of awareness.

The coastal environment of Oceano is tempered by multiple threats such as incessant motorized activity on the dunes, the toxicity of surrounding industrial agriculture, and the second-worst air quality in the country. Likewise, in Hawai‘i, I have spent decades making images that explore the multiple threats to the land and ocean resources. Monster storms, king tides, coastal development and erosion, storm surges, military land use, and toxic agriculture have made the islands of Hawai‘i one of the most fragile and threatened ecosystems in the United States.

For the title and organization of this exhibition, I have chosen to employ the literary form of an elegy, an extended reflection and lamentation on the earth in the twenty first century. An elegy refers to a poetic reflection, often for a transient, mortal entity. Samuel Taylor Coleridge explains that as the poet “will feel regret for the past or desire for the future, so sorrow and love became the principal themes of the elegy.” 

Sorrow and love for the earth, indeed. No better articulation exists for my regard for our dying planet and common mother.


David Ulrich is a photographer, best-selling author, and educator who has been teaching photography for over forty years in colleges, universities, and workshop centers in the US and internationally. He is currently a professor and co-director of Pacific New Media Foundation in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. His work has been published in many books and journals including Aperture, Mānoa, Parabola, and Sierra Club publications. Ulrich’s photographs have been exhibited internationally in more than 75 one-person and group exhibitions—and can be found in numerous collections. He is the former Chair of the Photography Department at The Art Institute of Boston (now Lesley University College of Art and Design), the former Chair of the Art Department at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and a consulting editor and frequent contributor to Parabola magazine. He is the author of several books including The Widening Stream: the Seven Stages of Creativity and Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography (Watson-Guptill/Random House 2018). He is currently completing a photography book titled Oceano: An Elegy for the Earth, to be published in 2022 by George F. Thompson Publishing in association with the Center for the Study of Place.


HPU students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to take advantage of viewing and enjoying the year round gallery exhibitions. The public is invited at any time during the gallery's hours of operation to view the exhibitions. Visitors to Hawaii and Hawai'i Pacific University's Hawai'i Loa campus may wish to include a gallery visit as a stop on their around-the-island trip. The panoramic view of the Koolau mountains from the front grand lanai of the Cooke Academic Center provides a memorable photo opportunity of your visit to Hawaii and Hawai'i Pacific University.

The Hawai‘i Pacific University Art Gallery is located on HPU’s Windward Hawai‘i Loa campus, 45-045 Kamehameha Highway, in Kaneohe. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Parking and admission is free and the public is invited. For more information call 544-9340.

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