Native Hawaiian artist Noah Harders takes a whimsical approach to style in Moemoeā, his first institutional exhibition opening next week at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Translating to dream or fantasy, the show’s title offers a conceptual, political, and aesthetic foundation for Harders’ vast array of works that transform crustacean shells, skeletal remains, lush jade flowers, and other organic matter into sculptural wearables. The fashions are intricately constructed and mask most of the artist’s face as he captures their sprawling forms through bold self-portraiture, which he describes as fostering a connection between himself and the found objects. He explains:
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When I put on these masks, I feel like I am embodying the spirit and essence of seemingly ordinary materials that can be found around us…These pieces are a way for us to step out of the harsh reality we are consumed by every day and simply have a moment to dream and feel inspired by what surrounds us on this earth.