My Bishop Museum Experience: “Piecing Together the Story of Hawaiʻi on Paper"
By Candice Soon

We love to hear about our guests’ experiences at Bishop Museum, and how they were affected by the many cultural, historical, and scientific objects and specimens housed here.

Meet Candice, an educator and artist, who was inspired to create beautiful artwork during her last visit to the Museum.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Singapore but have been living in Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi for the past two years. I’m a special education teacher at a local high school, but art has always been my first love – I’m deeply influenced by my natural environment and surroundings and use art as a way to process and absorb things that I see, feel, and experience. While I have no professional training or schooling in art, it has always been my hobby since I was young and remains the best way for me to express myself. I’m lucky to live in a place as beautiful as Hawaiʻi where I never find myself short of inspiration.

What made your experience at Bishop Museum so special?

I moved around a lot as a child and was exposed to many different countries so I’ve always been fascinated by each culture’s unique history and the story of how they came to be. Coming to Hawaiʻi, I noticed immediately the unbreakable connection that Hawaiians have to their land and culture. When I visited Bishop Museum, this deeply-rooted relationship clearly manifested itself in the hundreds of artifacts, photographs, and pictures that detailed the story of Hawaiʻi, from its birth to its present state. As someone who is not only foreign to the Islands but who is also from a country that harbors completely different values, I was moved by what I saw and learned at the Museum.

What inspired this piece?

To commemorate my visit to Bishop Museum, I drew certain artifacts that stood out to me in piecing together the story of Hawaiʻi. It was difficult to choose as there were so many beautiful and important pieces in the Museum, but I tried to pick a diverse array that covered both natural and man-made artifacts that have shaped Hawaiian culture and history over centuries. By putting my experience onto paper as a visual journal, I felt like I was able to really take in and appreciate every detail that the Museum had to offer. Instead of taking a photo on my phone that I might never look at again, I chose to preserve my experience as art so that I could forge a closer and more thoughtful relationship as an observer and consumer of information. I hope to visit Bishop Museum again soon, taking in all it has to offer and leaving with yet another page of my sketchbook filled with its stories and history.

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