"Natural Formed Bowl" by Craig Swedberg is part of the "Sculpture in Wood" exhibit at Windward Community College's Gallery Iolani. Pulotu, a master carver, was named a Living Treasure by the state of Hawaii several years back.
Spirit of the wood
Na Kukui Ho'oulu O Na'auao has its eye on both the past and the future. The Windward Community College woodcarving program offers classes in the Hawaiian indigenous art form to perpetuate the past.
All the while, it looks ahead as it imparts ecological concepts. Those who participate see the beauty that arises from a piece of wood that is carved rather than discarded. And in that process, students -- youth in particular -- find they are cultivating themselves as they create art.
"Wood is perfect for troubled youth to work with," says Brandon Avegalio, who runs the program. "Wood absorbs negative energy, and when something beautiful is made from it, the spirit of the wood emerges."
A collection of works, made by both master carvers and adult students from Na Kukui's program, is on display in "Sculpture in Wood" at WCC's Gallery Iolani through July 31.
Works range from paddles and weapons to decorative sculptures and pahu.
An artists' reception will be held 4 to 7 p.m. July 19.
Gallery Iolani's summer hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays and Sundays. Call 236-9155.
"Paddle" by Sione Tuione Pulotu.
"Passion" by Brandon Avegalio, made from Cuban mahogany.
"Pahu Aumakua" by expert pahu maker Cioci Delire, is a gift made specifically for Oprah Winfrey. Delire saw the talk show host grant a Waianae boy's wish to sing on television and felt compelled to thank her for the kindness. "He reminded me of myself when I was young," Delire says. The artist's yearlong attempts to get the pahu to Winfrey have been unsuccessful, and he says if he fails to deliver it to her, the pahu will be burned. "It's an aumakua pahu, which means it's meant only for her," Delire explains. The animals that adorn the lower portion of the drum -- owl, lizard, turtle and shark -- came to Delire in a dream, and he considers them Winfrey's aumakua.
"Upeti Board" by Andrew Brewer is a carved monkey pod piece.