Honolulu, Oʻahu Hawaiʻi
Michael is the recipient of the Fondazione Prada and Qatar Museums Authority Curate Award (2014) and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2017). In Hawai‘i, he will continue his “Extinct in the Wild” project which has been shown at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, and at the XX Bienal de Arquitectura y Urbanismo in Valparaíso Chile.
Adopting the scientific designation “Extinct in the Wild,” Wang’s work focuses on flora and fauna species that are no longer found in nature but that persist through human intervention and care. These species represent a “kind of passage from nature into culture,” and with Wang’s intervention a further transition into the realm of fine art. Michael hopes to document the last location where these species were observed in the wild as well as their preservation in captivity or cultivation. In Hawai‘i, he is particularly interested in learning more about the ʻAlalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) on Hawai‘i island; the Ālula (Brighamia insignis) on Kaua‘i; Mt. Kaʻala Cyanea (Cyanea superba) and Sharktail Cyanea (Cyanea pinnatifida) on O‘ahu; and the Kokiʻo (Kokia cookei) on Molokaʻi.
While in residence with TRADES, Michael continued his “Extinct in the Wild” project; traveling between O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i Island to research several species of plants, tree snails, and the ‘Alalā (Hawaiian Crow). Local experts—at the O‘ahu Army Natural Resources Program; Hawaiian Rare Plant Program at Lyon Arboretum; Hui Kū Maoli Ola; Hawai‘i Snail Extinction Prevention Program; and Keahou Bird Center—generously welcomed Michael and shared their work with him.
Michael spent days up mauka learning about native forests from botanical experts and cultural practitioners; and counting endangered tree snails in “snail jail” exclosures. And he shared his findings with keiki to kupuna. Michael planted an Alula (Brighamia insignis) specimen with Kipapa Elementary 3rd graders who will continue to care for it. He visited middle-schoolers at SEEQS (School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability) twice—first learning about their on-campus stream conservation efforts and then teaching them about his project. At UH Mānoa, he shared his systems-based approach to art-making with undergraduate and graduate art students. Michael’s residency culminated with a public panel at fishcake, where he discussed his Hawai‘i findings and the connections between environmental and cultural stewardship with Dr. Helen Turner of Chaminade University; and Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon of The Nature Conservancy.
We look forward to having Michael back in Hawai‘i to continue his research as we explore exhibition opportunities for “Extinct in the Wild.”