Art historian delves into Ralph Iwamoto's surrealist paintings of Hawaiʻi flora Interview by Lillian Tsang

Hawai'i Public Radio, April 4, 2023

"Wild Growth" is the name of an art exhibit featuring surrealist paintings of tropical flowers by Honolulu native Ralph Iwamoto. Painted over 60 years ago, they're now on display in New York City’s Hollis Taggart Gallery.


Iwamoto’s career spanned from the 1950s until he died in 2013. The Nisei artist tasted success early when a painting done at Kawananakoa Middle School was first exhibited at a Honolulu Academy of Arts children's show and later at the Carnegie Institute for Art.

During World War II, he served as a translator in Japan, and in 1948, used the G.I. Bill to travel to the Big Apple to study at the Art Student's League.


The Conversation sat down with art historian Jeffrey Wechsler to talk about rediscovering Iwamoto’s unique style of abstract art.


The exhibit, "Wild Growth: Ralph Iwamoto, Surrealist Works from 1955" is on display at the Hollis Taggart Gallery in New York City through April 15. It's the first in a series of exhibits celebrating Iwamoto's artwork planned in the next few years.


This interview aired on The Conversation on April 4, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.


Listen to the broadcast on Hawai'i Public Radio

Sign up for updates

Receive information about exhibitions, artists and events.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.