The SaVAge K’lub of New Zealand has been staging unique cultural events in spaces around the world since 2010. Fifteen members are in Honolulu now for the Honolulu Biennial. HPR's Noe Tanigawa attended their opening in a storefront on Nu‘uanu Avenue in Chinatown.
SaVAge K’lub founder, Rosanna Raymond was at the pop up opening in Chinatown last Saturday.
Raymond: Coming here for us , we still carry the legends of Hawaiki, Hawaiki Loa, Hawaiki Nui, which is one of the connections that lead us to Hawai‘i. Actually the connection is still strong.
SaVAge K’lub invites people to activate formerly passive spaces. SaVAge K’lub gets its name from the historic Savage Club, a “gentlemen’s club,” first established in London in the 1800’s. Like the originals, contemporary SaVAge K’lub installations combine historical and contemporary objects and artworks. They also feature performance, songs, poetry, and storytelling.
The VA in the middle of SaVAge K’lub refers to the Samoan concept of Va, the space between, or the relationships that hold entities in unity.
Raymond: Art can say things that sometimes can be quite hard or harsh, in terms of politics. What I love about my art practice is that it allows mw to have a voice and say quite hard, like topics, bring tough topics up, like for me, the presence of the military here was a shock for me.
Raymond: When I got off the plane, the first thing I heard was the preference for military personnel. The the presence physically when I was at the airport, then, of course, Pearl Harbor. Then sort of sitting at the beach at Wai‘anae and the helicopters going by.
Raymond: The clincher was when I was at Ka‘ala, at a lo‘i, and I thought I heard some thunder but it wasn’t thunder, it was some bombing going off. I was like, seriously?? This is something that is happening now! We just sort of thought the military was here, we didn’t think they were actively practicing. It was quite a shock for someone like me to experience it quite full on.
Raymond's shock at Hawai‘i’s militarization is in itself educational. SaVAge K'lub's HB19 installation is located in a storefront at 1109 Nuuanu Avenue, and all are invited to stop by for a visit.
Raymond: We have painters, graffiti artists, we have weavers, dancers, and we’re open studio! So pop in.
Raymond: We’re printing SaVAge K’lub t-shirts which is sort of like a membership initiation, or you can bring your own thing to print. And it’s a chance to talk sotry with us, swap ideas. We’re really interested in connecting through the arts.
Those SaVAge K'lub t-shirts are going to be a collector's item.