Tropical Disturbance

Event has passed (Fri Jan 19, 2018 - Fri Jan 19, 2018)
The Luggage Store Gallery




Ten artists address the notion of place in Hawai‘i. Free programming includes performance by renowned San Francisco Hula Choreographer Patrick Makuak?ne, and film series on women and surfing


Tropical Disturbance: A guide to place making + contemporary art in Hawai?i


January 19-February 23, 2018


Friday, January 19, 6:00-9:00 p.m. with performances by Kumu Hula Patrick Makuak?ne and members of his hula troupe, N? Lei Hulu I Ka W?kiu, and Kumu Hula Alena Heim of Honolulu hula group H?lau Hula Kamaluokalaua?e


Sunday, January 21, 3:00-5:00 P.M., Kai Walea: A Short Film Program on Women x Surfing


All programs are free and open to the public.


Ph: 415-255-5971 / High-res images available upon request.



SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA— From the lauded restaurant Liholiho Yacht Club to the acclaimed Hawaiian dance company N? Lei Hulu I Ka W?kiu, Hawai‘i talent has a creative foothold in the Bay Area. Yet Hawai‘i artists often work in virtual isolation—far from the conventional centers of contemporary art. This exhibition, the Bay Area’s first group show of critical contemporary art by artists of Hawai?i, sets out to increase access to these stories of a place that was a nation before it became a state.

The Luggage Store Gallery, invites you to experience Tropical Disturbance: a guide to place making + contemporary art in Hawai?i. Conceptualized and curated by Trisha Lagaso Goldberg, an independent exhibition maker from Hawai?i, Tropical Disturbance opens January 19, 2018, and runs through February 23, 2018.

The exhibition brings together work by 10 contemporary artists with ties to Hawai‘i who challenge popular representations and views on the so-called Aloha State. The title of the exhibition takes inspiration from an essential aspect of island life: its weather.

As a storm turns into a hurricane, it goes through several phases of intensity with a tropical disturbance as its first stage of birth. A disturbance is defined by sustained atmospheric conditions of difference (temperature, moisture, wind), which generate hotspots of activity (storms) that can be mapped across a particular geographic area. Presented here is an active convection cell of ideas and positions centered on Hawai?i.

The selected artists regard Hawai?i in terms of cultural practice and identity, autobiography and ancestry, nationality, immigration, watershed issues, ecology, global flows of goods and capital, its plantation-era history, and status as a famed tourist destination.

Their works, many of them made expressly for the show, reflect an energy and tension that is meant to highlight the complexity of Hawai?i.


Featured artists include: DB Amorin, Alison Beste, Sean Connelly, Ara Feducia, Sally Lundburg, Dana Paresa, Maya Lea Portner, Lawrence Seward, Keith Tallett, and Lynne Yamamoto.

Photographer Alison Beste shoots long-exposure images of Oil Tankers parked off the shores of O‘ahu as stand-ins for natural sunsets—reminding us of what it takes to fuel paradise.

Lynne Yamamoto’s reductive and monochromatic collection of ceramic-cast canned goods reference the limited accommodations available to workers during the plantation era, and the scarcity of food options during the Post-War period.

Keith Tallett creates lush, fresh flower arrangements in honor of Hawai‘i island farmer, Andres Magana Ortiz. The 43-year old famer was deported to Mexico this past summer, forced to leave behind his wife and children. Ortiz came to Hawai‘i when he was 15 to join his mother and no longer has family in Mexico. Coming to terms with the current administration’s stance on immigration and reflecting on phrases, such as “bad hombre” and “you should be afraid,” the artist will tattoo messages, like “vamos” (let’s go) and “amigo” (friend), for Ortiz (and for us) on the skin of Big Island anthuriums in three batches throughout the show—one group of flowers for each of Ortiz’s children.

Keith Tallett, Vamos Amigo, The Flower Carrier, C-print, 35” x 30”

These artists extrude Hawai‘i from the usual two-dimensional tropes of an island paradise and locate it in a complex, animated, multi-dimensional context.

“Working in the art and culture sector, I wondered at the popular phrase, ‘A Hawai?i sense of place,’” says Lagaso Goldberg. “When I went looking for ways to illustrate this concept in the visual realm, I found origins, which were largely rooted in cultural motifs from elsewhere. It prompted me to ask: ‘Is there really a sense of place that is distinctly Hawai?i based? If so: what does it look like?’”

An individual’s status—whether indigenous, settler, newcomer, or tourist—may shift from one locale to the next. Whereas you may be native to one place, you are newcomer or tourist in another. Are all experiences valid? Equal?

The exhibition does not seek to legitimize any one viewpoint or rank experiences in terms of significance, but rather hopes to generate an open dialogue around issues of placehood, dis/placement, and what it means to be of or to make place.


JANUARY 19, 6:00-9:00 P.M.
Opening reception and hula performance

Three-time Isadora Duncan Dance Award recipient and Kumu Hula (hula instructor) Patrick Makuak?ne, will open Tropical Disturbance with a Hawaiian oli (chant) followed by two performances by members of his San Francisco-based dance company, N? Lei Hulu I Ka W?kiu. Alena Keolohilani Heim, the graceful

performer and Kumu Hula of Honolulu-based H?lau Hula Kamaluokalaua?e, will offer two hula ‘auana (modern hula) that tell stories of place.

N? Lei Hulu I Ka W?kiu performing a dance in honor of San Francisco

The Hula Show, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, 2011

JANUARY 21, 3:00-5:00 P.M.
Kai Walea: A Short-Film Program on Women x Surfing

Three films featuring powerhouse women who surf tackle the question, “Whose wave is this?” Q & A with filmmakers follows the film screening.

Her Wetsuit

By Richie Biluan, Christina Delima, Michelle Yokota (2017, TRT 8:00)

In this short documentary, Michelle shares her response to an unexpected diagnosis with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) in 2012 and the need to connect with something greater. For those with the condition, sun exposure can be detrimental–causing flare ups, joint pain, physical exhaustion, and brain fog. While Michelle learns to adapt to life with this incurable autoimmune disease in sun-drenched Hawai?i, she finds solace—and a solution to her dilemma—in her wetsuit.

Swimming in the Deep

By Sally Lundburg (2017, TRT 10:00)

At 33, U?ilani Macabio is a public school teacher, a mother of two young children, and a tenacious surfer. Firmly rooted in honoring the traditions and practices of her culture, this short documentary explores her beliefs, frustrations, memories, and bliss as she moves through daily life. U?ilani dances an ancient form of hula, speaks the Hawaiian language with her children, surfs the rough waves of her remote homebreak, and works to instill passion in her students. These are all ways in which she honors her ancestors while facing the challenges of life in contemporary Hawai?i.

This is Living with Cancer: Sachi’s Story

By Sachi Cunningham (2017, TRT 4:32)

This is Living with Cancer: Sachi’s Story is a short film about big wave water photographer Sachi Cunningham’s journey with fallopian tube cancer. After being diagnosed BRCA1 positive, Cunningham had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and total hysterectomy, after which a two-millimeter tumor was discovered in her fallopian tubes. Cunningham went through six rounds of chemotherapy following the surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. This video was filmed during her recovery, after she returned to the water for the first time following her final breast reconstruction surgery.

This exhibition is made possible by: the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; California Arts Council; Creative Industries Division of the State of Hawai?i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (CID/DBEDT); Grants for the Arts of the Hotel Tax Fund; The Kenneth Ranin Foundation; Pacific Air Cargo; and the San Francisco Art Commission.

Special thanks to HonBlue for sponsoring the printing of Alison Beste’s “Oil Tanker Sunset” postcards and to media sponsor Lei Culture.



Alena Kealohilani Heim is the founder and kumu hula (hula instructor) of Honolulu-based dance troupe H?lau Hula Kamaluokalaua?e. From the late-eighties through early-nineties, Heim danced with venerated Kumu Hula Leimomi Ho of Keali?ika?apunihonua Ke?ena A?o Hula—during which time she performed with her hula h?lau (hula troupe) in the internationally acclaimed Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition. Heim has studied with the revered Kumu Hula Mae Kam?malu Klein of H?lau Hula K?kalehuaikaohu since 1994. In 2000, she began extensive training with Kumu Klein in preparation for the intensive ??niki (graduation) ceremony, which culminated in 2003 when she was conferred the status of kumu hula.

Patrick Makuak?ne, Director and kumu hula of San Francisco-based dance group N? Lei Hulu I Ka W?kiu, Makuak?ne is well known for his innovative choreography. While his work is grounded in the fundamentals of hula and Makuak?ne works to keep traditional dances intact, his signature style of hula (called hula mua) uses modern music to provide a new dimension to the poetry of this native Hawaiian dance form. Born and raised in Honolulu, Makuak?ne began dancing at the age of 13 and went on to study with some of the most recog


  1. The Luggage Store Gallery 1007 Market Street, San Francisco, CA