Isaacs Art Center

Joseph Hau'oli Dowson (1925-2013)

Joseph “Joe” Hau’oli Dowson, Sr.
(American, 1925-2013)

Joseph Hauoli Dowson, Sr., was born in Pu'unene, Maui, and was well known in the community as an artist and Kumu (teacher). Dowson had a unique style, often creating techniques all his own, ranging from highly detailed realism to total abstraction; his tools included painting knives, brushes, and his own fingers. His creative abilities captured the essence of the islands' beauty in seascapes, landscapes, waterfalls, and volcanoes. A master in painting, fluent in many languages, a retired police officer, special investigator in the prior Honolulu Chiefs' offices, and legal investigator for several law firms.

Joe was awarded first place in the 1987 exhibition of the Hawaiian Watercolor and Serigraph Society, and was again recognized with an award in 1988. He was a member of the Honolulu Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters, and was a past president of the Hawaii Watercolor Society. He originated the Sunday Art Fence at the Honolulu Zoo. Joe has been featured in many exhibits and galleries throughout his interesting life, including the Territorial Savings and Loan, Pacific American Gallery and the Louis Pohl Gallery. As a Native Son Hawaiian island painter, Joe was commissioned by United Airlines to depict the beauty of our islands through Hawaiian eyes for their award-winning film, "Hawaii, Our Little Corner of the World." These canvases now hang in UAL home office in Chicago.

In May 2007, Joe was honored at the Bishop Museum as one of the year's six Mamo (Maoli Arts Month) Awardees in recognition of his numerous contributions and accomplishments within our community as a Native Hawaiian visual artist.