Georgia O'Keeffe's three-month stay in Hawaii has been reimagined in the lush corridors of the New York Botanical Garden, with frangipani, bougainvillea, bird-paradise, hibiscus, and other flora, in the new show, Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai'i, opening on Saturday. Besides the flowers and plants, 20 of O'Keeffe's paintings from the period are on display, including some that haven't been together in NYC since a 1940 debut.

At the center of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is a thatched-roof pavilion, which the NYBG says is "inspired by the traditional Hawaiian hale" and "will tell the story of canoe plants—useful plants brought to the Islands 1,000 years ago by Polynesian settlers. Vignettes featuring native Hawaiian plants will teach visitors about modern efforts to preserve Hawai‘i’s imperiled flora."

Why did O'Keeffe go to Hawaii? She was commissioned to create paintings to be used in advertisements for a pineapple company! From a press release:

In 1939, at the age of 51, O’Keeffe traveled on commission to Hawai‘i to produce images for a Hawaiian Pineapple Company promotional campaign. Her nine weeks on O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, and the Big Island of Hawai‘i resulted in stunning depictions of mountains and waterfalls as well as her signature close-cropped views of flowers and plants she observed.

At the time of her trip, O’Keeffe was among the most famous artists in the United States, best known for her depictions of the stark landscape and desert flora of her beloved New Mexico. Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai‘i, will explore this lesser-known chapter in her career, the enduring cultural impact of mid-century perceptions of Hawai‘i, and the ecological complexity of the Hawaiian Islands—one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth—hidden behind O’Keeffe’s depictions.

Integrating art, horticulture, and historical interpretation, the exhibition will explore the Hawai‘i that O’Keeffe experienced and also reveal the complex history of the Hawaiian Islands that she was not familiar with at the time.

Fun fact: O'Keeffe left from Grand Central Terminal, taking a train to California, where she boarded a ship to Honolulu. Messages—a telegram, postcard, letters—to her husband, photographer Alfred Stieglitz, are on view, as well as newspaper clippings heralding O'Keeffe's presence in Hawaii and photographs from the time. The exhibition was curated by Theresa Papanikolas, Ph.D., Deputy Director of Art and Programs and Curator of European and American Art at the Honolulu Museum of Art

Georgia O’Keeffe: Visions of Hawai'i opens on May 19 and runs through October 28, 2018 at the New York Botanical Garden. There a number of programs and events (say aloha to Aloha Nights). Here are details for hours and admission.