UH Hilo environmental science major Saxony Charlot’s artwork chosen for state’s Art in Public Places Collection

Saxony Charlot’s piece, “Koa Bug Colorways,” was acquired by the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to be added to its Art in Public Places Collection.

Oil painting of six colorful Koa bugs nestled in thick foliage.
“Koa Bug Waterways” by Saxony Charlot was chosen by the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to be added to its Art in Public Places Collection. (Courtesy photo)

By Susan Enright.

Saxony holds an unfinished oil painting of bugs.
Saxony Charlot in a selfie holds not-yet-finished “Koa Bug Colorways.” (Insta)

A colorful oil painting of koa bugs by an environmental science student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has been acquired by the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to be added to its Art in Public Places Collection.

“Koa Bug Colorways,” a painting by Saxony Charlot depicting six endemic Koa bugs (Coleotichus blackburniae) among thick foliage, was originally displayed at the Hawaiʻi Nei Art exhibition in Hilo in 2023.

Charlot’s aspirations for the future are mostly lab and fieldwork based, but her art plays a large role in her conservation practice and life.

From a previous post at UH Hilo Stories about Charlot:

As an environmental science major and gifted artist, Saxony Charlot is passionate about raising awareness for Hawaiʻi’s endangered and threatened species. As she pursues her scientific studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, her stunning artwork is flourishing.

“Hawaiian ecosystems are my passion,” she says. “It’s always just called to me. Since I was a kid, I’ve had a keen interest in Hawaiʻi’s native species and their conservation.”

Charlot was born and raised on Oʻahu and grew up on a small family farm in Waimānalo to a family of artists. She is the great-granddaughter of Jean Charlot, a muralist and painter of great fame, born 1898 in Paris, France, and who died in 1979 in Honolulu. (Jean Charlot came to the University of Hawaiʻi to create his first UH Mānoa mural in 1949. He liked Hawaiʻi so much that he decided to make it his home, becoming a part of the UH Mānoa art department. There are three additional murals of Jean Charlotʻs on the UH Mānoa campus.)

Saxony’s great-grandfather, Jean, and her grandfather, Martin, have both been artistic inspirations for the young protégé throughout her life and this background effortlessly melded with her love of conservation. She began the serious work of terrestrial environment conservation in 2015.

“I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to work and volunteer with numerous conservation projects on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island, and in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument,” she writes in her web bio. “My field experience includes managing a native plant nursery, tagging Hawaiian monk seals, disentangling wild seabirds, surveying endangered honeycreepers, and more; I also have lab experience in micropropagation of rare plants and bioacoustics projects with native birds.”

The artwork of three graduate students from UH Mānoa were also chosen for the foundation’s Art in Public Places Collection.

The works will be showcased in various state government locations across Hawaiʻi, such as schools, libraries and Capitol Modern (Hawaiʻi State Art Museum).

Read full story at UH System News.

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The art of science at UH Hilo: Budding environmental scientist Saxony Charlot inspires appreciation of Hawai‘i’s ecology through her art


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

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