Hiroshi TagamiHIROSHI TAGAMI Hiroshi Tagami peacefully passed away the morning of June 13, 2014. He was 85 years old. He left behind his partner of 28 years, Michael Powell, along with a large, loving extended family. Tagami was a man of many talents. His love of art, botany, wildlife and spirituality all were equally important aspects of his life. Over a 45-year artistic history, Hiroshi sold over 7,000 paintings to art collectors and connoisseurs around the globe. He and his art are well-known in Hawaii. His approach to art was driven by his wish to give back to the community. Each year he generously supported more than 35 charities in fundraising through art sales. "Part of Hiroshi's magnetism is that he was a very spiritual person, compassionate, gentle and kind," says life partner Powell. Like his life, his art found many forms of expression. He painted seascapes, abstracts, portraits and landscapes, and worked vigorously in oils primarily with a palette knife. It is difficult to separate Hiroshi from his original O`ahu home, the Tagami and Powell Gallery and Gardens in Kahalu`u. It is a beautifully laid-out home featuring a studio and gallery. It is an artistic statement in itself, a one-acre work of art in three dimensions. Originally created by Tagami and his former partner Richard Hart, the property evolved to be known as Tagami & Powell Gallery & Gardens. It is currently owned by friends of Tagami and Powell and continues to feature a wide variety of exotic plants and flowers propagated by Tagami. He traveled around the world to collect rare plants which he introduced to Hawaii. He created hybrid ti plants, day lilies, and created and patented anthuriums that are sold worldwide. Species on display at the gardens include bright bromeliads, colorful anthuriums, ornamental gingers, exotic flowering trees from around the world, and lush, fragrant orchids. He named one of his hybrid anthuriums after his mother, Yoshino Tagami. Some of Tagami's hybrids have been shared with London's famed Kew Gardens. Tagami leaves a legacy of a living canvas of trees, flowers and a sense of serenity and peace in the gallery and gardens. It will continue to be open to the public on special occasions. As a young boy at 12, Tagami labored in the pineapple fields to help his widowed mother raise a dozen children. Later he was drafted in the Korean War. It was a turning point when he returned to Hawaii. The GI Bill gave him the chance to study painting at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. There he began to show his talent. He subsequently started selling his work at the Honolulu Zoo fence. His work immediately attracted attention. Soon afterwards he met and went into partnership with gifted ceramist Richard Hart. Together they founded the Kahalu`u Gallery and Gardens. After Richard's passing, Tagami expanded the gallery and gardens along with Michael Powell. They re-opened the Tagami and Powell Gallery and Gardens in 1987. In Powell's words regarding his life partner, "How does one begin to describe a relationship that helped define two lives? Of course, it was defined purely and simply by love." Tagami and Powell shared a sensitivity cemented by a desire to assist others. "This is why we ultimately decided to spend our lives as partners." Tagami's legacy will continue to live on in his art and in the numerous lives he touched. He communicated deep spirituality, a personal quality that seemed inseparable from his creativity. To him art is what life is all about. Art is around us everywhere. Hiroshi Tagami's life will be celebrated at a memorial service to be held at Unity Church of Hawaii at 3608 Diamond Head Circle on Saturday, July 5 at 10:00 a.m.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased