Exhibit honors Kamehameha’s legacy

  • Hala (Passage) by Carl F.K. Pao. (Courtesy photo)

The Donkey Mill Art Center is honored to present “NIUHI-SHARK: Honoring Kamehameha The Great in Paint &Prose” featuring original paintings created by Carl F. K. Pao paired with selections from the book, “Kamehameha – The Rise of a King” by Kawika Eyre with illustrations by Brook Parker.

The exhibit was created in 2019 in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of King Kamehameha’s passing in West Hawaii and provides viewers a visual experience of pivotal events in King Kamehameha’s life and the fascinating perspective from two very different styles of art.

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“The Donkey Mill is excited to bring this important exhibit to the West Hawaii community as Kamehameha is such a significant part of our Kona moolelo,” said Mina Elison, DMAC communications director and curator. “We have also created meaningful programming and talk story to really get folks thinking about Kamehameha’s legacy, how it continues to affect us today and what can we learn from his leadership and values to move us forward tomorrow.”

The exhibit opens tonight with a reception and from 6-8 p.m. at Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa. It will remain on view through March 20.

An open panel discussion moderated by Keala Kwan will take place 5-7 p.m. Feb. 8 followed by artist talk featuring Eyre, Pao and Parker on March 6. On March 7, Pao will lead a monotype print workshop.

The year 1819 was one of significant transition in Hawaii. It was the year which witnessed the death of Kamehameha; his beloved wife, Kaahumanu, is said to have tattooed the exact date on her arm: May 8, 1819. It was also the year of the breaking of the ai kapu, which freed men and women to eat together. Later that same year, Chief Kekuaokalani, Kamehameha’s nephew fell with his wife, Manono, on the battlefield at Kuamoo in a last and valiant attempt to defend the kapu system.

Hawaii Island is not only the place of Kamehameha’s birth, it is also the beautiful and dramatic setting of much of his life’s story, the source of his power, the home of his final days, and the hidden place of his bundled bones.

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Eyre has taught Hawaiian language at Kamehameha Schools for 23 years. His book, “Kamehameha — The Rise of a King” won a Palapala Pookela Award for excellence in Hawaiian culture, a Nene Book Award, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and a Read Aloud America selection award. Eyre is the author of seven books, the most recent being a collection of haiku poems entitled not a one, published by Red Moon Press in 2018.

Born and raised on Oahu, Pao graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1989. He earned a his bachelor’s degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1994 and his masters of fine arts in 1999 from Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He returned to Hawaii in 2000 to take his a full-time teaching position at the Kamehameha Schools high school in the visual arts and in 2018 transferred to the Keaau campus.

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