Black and white photograph in Chinatown by Francis Haar


September 15 - December 6, 2019
John Young Museum of Art

Events + Programs (events are free and open to the public)
Sunday, September 15
2:00 - 3:00 p.m., Gallery walkthrough with Gaye Chan, Ian Lind, Lorraine Minatoishi and Maika Pollack
3:00 - 5:00 p.m., Opening Reception

Disappearing Honolulu takes its title from a project undertaken by Francis Haar in the mid to late 1960s. Haar’s photographs and film are valuable documents of a not so distant past that capture one of Honolulu’s diverse, multicultural communities in the midst of urban displacement – themes that remain relevant today as Honolulu undergoes another period of transformation. Approximately 40 black and white silver gelatin prints will be accompanied by a continuous screening of Aala – Life and Death of a Community a 16mm film Haar produced in 1968 with Steve Barlett and Kenneth Bushnell.

This exhibition was curated by Gaye Chan. The works included are a part of UH Mānoa’s Hamilton Library Collections. An exhibition brochure will be produced on the occasion of the exhibition.

Black and white photograph of torn-down buildings, by Francis Haar

Francis Haar (1908 - 1997) is among Hawaii’s best known modernist photographers. He relocated to Hawai‘i with his family in 1960 and produced numerous films and thousands of images on Hawaiian culture and the artistic community in Hawai‘i. Haar also taught photography at UH Mānoa.

His friend and colleague, the painter Kenneth Bushnell, rented a studio in the A‘ala Pawn Shop building. A friend of Bushnell’s suggested they document the A‘ala neighborhood, which was slated to be demolished to clear way for a new city park. This was the impetus for the resulting film Aala – Life and Death of a Community (1968. 16mm 25 min) by Haar, Barlett and Bushnell, which Haar called “a historical document, as well as a lyrical poem in black and white.”

During this same period Haar also produced hundreds of photographs of the area depicting the daily lived experience of A‘ala inhabitants. Haar’s work demonstrates a keen eye for details beautifully composed and rendered, offering a rare glimpse into this important period of Hawaii’s history, ten years after it became the 50th of the United States. Captured from the vantage point from one of its inhabitants. The images range from architectural details, documents of day to day happening, intimate portraits to its destruction.

Ian Lind is an award-winning investigative reporter, columnist, and blogger who has written about Hawai‘i politics, public ethics, white collar crime and related topics since 1990. He has also worked as a newsletter publisher, public interest advocate and lobbyist, peace educator, and legislative staffer. He has won multiple top awards in the annual competitions sponsored by the Hawai‘i Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for his reporting and columns on local issues. Lind is a lifelong resident of the islands.

Lorraine Minatoishi is the founder and owner of Minatoishi Architects, Inc, an architecture firm which specializes in residential, commercial, and historic preservation projects. She earned her Doctor of Engineering from the Waseda University in Tokyo where she focused her studies on ancient traditional Japanese architecture and the preservation of cultural buildings and sites of Hawai‘i.

Additional thanks go to Natalie Besl, Tom Haar, and Malia Van Heukelem.

University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Department of Art + Art History and College of Arts + Humanities; Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawai‘i and by the National Endowment for the Arts; Halekulani Hotel – Hospitality Sponsor for the Arts at UH Mānoa; and anonymous donors.

Gallery hours + admission:
Sun. – Fri. 12:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Free admission. Donations are appreciated.
Parking fees may apply.

Information may be subject to change.