“Osprey” by Hitnes

“The Image Hunter: On the Trail of John James Audubon,” an exhibit by Italian artist Hitnes, will be on display in the main gallery at Coastal Discovery Museum April 23-July 3.

The exhibition is a culmination of The Image Hunter project, in which Hitnes retraced Audubon’s travels in the United States and created work during a residency at the Halsey Institute at the College of Charleston in 2017 and 2018. The museum is hosting the final stop on this national touring exhibition.

In the early half of the 19th century, John James Audubon spent decades tracking birds and drawing them, hoping to create a compendium of all the birds in the United States. Nearly 200 years later, Italian painter and muralist Hitnes embarked on a 20-city road trip to retrace and rediscover the America that Audubon traversed in the making of his opus “The Birds of America” (1827-39). Traveling along Audubon’s exploratory routes, Hitnes observed, sketched and painted what he saw, creating an updated visual documentation of Audubon’s birds.

Hitnes’s exhibition documents his journey, elaborating on what it is that drives a person to dedicate multiple decades of their life to pursuing an obsession like Audubon did.

The exhibition will feature a range of work informed by his own expedition and will include other objects and ephemera collected on his trek. The exhibition will also be accompanied by a feature-length documentary film on Hitnes’s trip, directed by filmmaker Giacomo Agnetti.

From April 19 to 29, Hitnes will also paint three murals on the Honey Horn property. The public is encouraged to visit the museum and see Hitnes at work.

A reception and exhibition tour with the artist will be held from 4:30 to 7 p.m. April 28.

Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Coastal Discovery Museum is located at 70 Honey Horn Drive on Hilton Head Island. Entry is free and open to the public. For more information, call 843-689-6767 or visit coastaldiscovery.org.