Hamilton Library exhibit inspired by work of Save Our Surf

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Teri Skillman, (808) 956-8688
Events & Communications Coordinator, Library Services
Sonny Ganaden, (808) 294-9949
Guest Curator
Posted: Oct 4, 2013


The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Library announces the opening of a new exhibit, “Trip Around the Island” by Sonny Ganaden, in Hamilton Library’s Bridge Gallery for the Fall 2013 semester.  "Trip Around the Island" is a collection of thirty contemporary prints created by local artists, inspired in part by the work of Save Our Surf, Juliet May Fraser, and other artists of Hawaiʻi’s past.

The exhibit opening will take place from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, October 6, at Hamilton Library, and will feature music by Paula Fuga and others.  The exhibit runs through December 20, 2013.

The grassroots organization, Save Our Surf (SOS), was created by John M. Kelly Jr. (1919-2007), George Downing, and several other surfer-activists as an environmental, social, political and cultural movement that contributed to the contemporary Hawaiian sovereignty movement in the 1960s. As described by prinicipal spokesman Kelly in 1971, the SOS strategy rested on three simple concepts: respect the intelligence of the people, get the facts to them and help the people develop an action program.  Over nearly four decades of activism, the organization fought for environmental, economic and racial equality against the overdevelopment of Hawaiʻi’s shoreline.

In the prevention of offshore development around the islands, many of the battles fought against the State, the military and the Dillingham Co. (“Dilco,” they called it) were won. On Oʻahu, SOS advocated for the preservation of over 140 surfing sites between Pearl Harbor and Koko Head, the creation of Sand Island Park, the defeat of a reef runway in Maunalua Bay, the rezoning of Salt Lake, and federal and state legislation to protect shorelines. SOS advocated for the preservation of surf sites on Maui, Hawai’i Island, and Kauaʻi. Mrs. Marion Kelly and SOS members were significantly involved in the development of Ethnic Studies at the University of Hawai’i, the efforts of the Protect Kahoolawe ʻohana, Life of the Land, and protests regarding evictions throughout the 1970s and 1980s at Waiahole-Waikane, Kalama Valley and Sand Island. Most SOS members were high school and college students, many of whom remain involved in environmental and social justice advocacy today.

The SOS materials have not been viewed by the public for decades. They were preserved by their donation to the Hawaiian Collection in 2007 with the passing of Mr. Kelly by the Kelly Family.  The Save Our Surf (SOS) are now a digital collection (http://digicoll.manoa.hawaii.edu/sos/) at UHM Library that consists of unpublished material from the organization.  SOS became a militant movement overnight in late 1969, when plans were unveiled by the Army Corps of Engineers and the state to "broaden" the beaches of Waikīkī.  Using old fashioned political techniques such as hand-bills, demonstrations and colorful presentations at public meetings, SOS quickly won the respect of the politicians and developed strong grassroots support in the community at large.  The work of Save Our Surf is continued by groups such as Aikea Hawaiʻi, and the Surfrider Foundation, Oʻahu Chapter, who have assisted with this exhibition.

With the help of the Hawaiian Collection librarians, Sonny Ganaden selected materials from the Save Our Surf Collection that influenced the artwork collaboratively created with contemporary artists featured in "Trip Around the Island."  Items from the SOS collection that are included in the exhibit include prints, photos, flyers and posters that highlight issues from the movement for environmental, economic and racial equality.

As a dialogue between contemporary artists and the documentation of historical events, this is the only time that the artwork of "Trip Around the Island" will be on view with the Save Our Surf Collection.  The exhibit is in Hamilton Library for the Fall 2013 semester.  It is free and open to the public during Hamilton Library Building hours.

For more information, visit: http://library.manoa.hawaii.edu/