One visit to U‘i Gallery in Dairy Center in Kahului, and you’ll be swept away into a world of artistic expression and Hawaiian culture created by owners and artists Rachael Ray Au Hoon and her husband Duke. Here, you’ll discover a bevy of island-inspired paintings, artwork and merchandise (apparel, tableware, décor pieces), and hear the wonderful sounds of ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i - Hawaiian language spoken by the staff and occasionally their customers. Even students stop by to hone their Hawaiian language skills.
Much of the artwork in the gallery is created by Rachael Ray, a popular Hawaiian oil painter and designer who is driven by an incredible passion for aloha ‘āina – love for sacred and storied places of Hawai‘i – and her imaginative self-expression through functional art.
Rachael’s oil paintings showcase her unique artistic style, elegance, sensuality, and technique that weaves Hawaiian culture and kaona (hidden meanings) with realism and expressionism. It’s one of the reasons why her artwork (many of which are commissions) is sought by private collectors around the globe. Her artwork and merchandise is a perfect complement to various décor styles from modern and contemporary to traditional and plantation; and for those who just want to take home and/or be reminded of the beauty that is Hawai‘i.
“Our business had humble beginnings,” said Rachael. “We pitched a tent and sold our artwork at the swap meet and open-air markets eventually getting my art into galleries and restaurants around the island. About 8 ½ years ago, my husband Duke and I opened our gallery in Kahului, mom and pop style, pregnant with a 2-year-old. Just like a child, our business was one of our babies, something we all worked together to nurture to life. Once the community started talking about it and spreading the word via the coconut wireless network, our gallery just grew naturally from there; to now having decorated my first hotel with in room art in 380 luxury villas at the Westin Nanea in Kā’anapali.”
Rachael considers her ‘ohana truly blessed. “Even when faced with the hardest challenge of our lives – when our daughter Kahalau was diagnosed with stage 3 high risk Neuroblastoma. Supporting her through cancer treatments – we learned the true value of community, aloha and ‘ohana. Embracing us through all these life experiences is our Hawaiian culture and identity, which has provided a strong foundation on which to grow.”
Today, you can find Rachael’s art featured at U‘i Gallery in Kahului, as well as a number of stores around the island including two gift shops in Kahului Airport. Looking towards the future, this hard-working couple have big plans to expand their gallery to other areas of Maui and Hawai‘i. We wish Rachael and Duke continued success.
360 Papa Pl Suite 115, Kahului, HI 96732
Phone: 808- 893-2149