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Artist uses dried flowers to create interactive exhibit

English woman builds floral floating tunnel people walk through at the Honolulu Museum of Art

Dried flowers hanging in an exhibit.
Flowers hanging from the art exhibit.
Photo by Yui Leung

Inspiration for a floating forest of wildflowers in an exhibit at the Honolulu Museum of Art came from a small, thatched English cottage seven miles north of Cambridge. That was where Rebecca Louise Law, the artist behind the installation, grew up. Her father was the head gardener of an estate, she said in her book “Life in Death,” and he would teach her and her siblings about horticulture, the practice of garden cultivation, and its history.

Her mother encouraged them to play outside, Law said. Inside play was saved for rainy days, she said, and would be in the attic where hundreds of hanging dried flowers lined the ceiling. “I can still remember the smell,” she said. Law said both indoor and outdoor play was foundational to her art practice.

Her installation art piece of thousands of dried, hanging flowers that create a tunnel to walk through will be at the Honolulu Art Museum until Sept. 10, 2023. The museum is free for students and $10 for kama’aina or locals.

Law has installation art pieces across the world, but said she was excited to create one for Hawaii where the community is diverse. “I feel like that is what art is meant to be,” she said, “bringing everyone together.”

Flowers hanging in an exhibit.
Flowers hanging in the exhibit.
Photo by Yui Leung

The exhibit is both inclusive and interactive. Law said people helped her string the flowers and she loves the symbolism of many hands working together to be a part of something bigger. There was a place at the museum for people to write down their impressions from the artwork. People rolled up notes and put them in holes of a circular, honeycomb–textured display. One admirer left a poem they had written about the exhibit, saying:

“A feeling to place belonging, stillness in being.

An ease to existence, effortless communication of meaning.

A public space for all to reside in.

Yet, not another soul here to confide in.

A contemplative bench is worth a visit at the Rebecca Louise Law exhibit.“

Law’s message with the Hawaiian exhibit is very simple, she said. “There’s a necessity for us as human beings to look after each other and look after this earth.” Her hope is to create something that will transport people into a space without the constraints of time and where there is still life in death.