Puni Kukahiko and Maika'i Tubbs used chain link, tape, mulch, bullets and kalo for "Makua Bound." The mulch and bullets are encased in tape, which shapes the figure; kalo sprouts from openings cut in the tape.
Fifteen local artists explore the subject of Makua Valley in an exhibit at the Academy Art Center
"The mo'olelo (oral histories) of Wai'anae claim the entire coastline from Ka'ena to Kawaihapai as a wahi pana (sacred place). It was here that the kanaka maoli were formed from the 'aina (land). ... Makua means parents: it is the site where Papa (the earth-mother) and Wakea (the sky-father) meet."
-- "Makua Means Parents, a Brief Cultural History of Makua Valley," by Marion Kelly and Nancy Aleck, American Friends Service Committee - Hawaii area program
It was after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 that the community of Makua was evacuated and the valley transformed from a peaceful cattle ranch to a U.S. military training area. "Structures were demolished by target practice, ... fishing holes bombed, and fresh water wells were used as dumps for waste oil," Kelly and Aleck report.
Alyce Dodge, one of the 15 artists who contributed work for "Makua," showing at the Academy Art Center through April 11, says Hawaiians consider the bombing of Makua sacrilegious because of its spiritual significance to the culture. "It's the site of the origin of the Hawaiian people," she says. "So much injustice is tied in, but some of the worst is the fact that families got moved off the land and never got to go home."
"Makua Mau a Mau," an acrylic on plywood, is the work of Na Hana no na Keiki o Nanakuli, children from the Boys and Girls Club of Nanakuli who worked with artist Meleanna Meyer to create pieces for the show. Meyer's work is also featured in "Makua."
The exhibit is the result of some three years of planning by local artists who had spoken of a Makua show. The other artists are: Maile Andrade, Jan Becket, Meala Bishop, Dodge, Fred Dodge, Solomon Enos, Hanalei Hopfe, Linda Kane, Puni Kukahiko, Pearl Ling, Meleanna Meyer, Keone Nunes, Richard Palmer, Carl F.K. Pao and Maika'i Tubbs.
Dodge says the design of the show was well thought out. The center of the gallery bears a stone altar meant to be the piko of the exhibit. The front of the gallery houses the works that reflect Makua of old, while the back deals with the contemporary issues of military destruction.
The gallery is also split into wahine and kane sides; the women are on the right and the men on the left. Dodge says traditionally, the left side of the body is considered feminine, the right masculine. Since Hawaiians look to the past in decision-making, a visitor would face the front of the gallery (the past) and find the wahine side on the left and the kane on the right.
The Academy Art Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Call 532-8741.
Maile Andrade's "Makole iho hewa i Makua."
"Ao Makua," by Carl F.K. Pao, is an acrylic, paper and pencil work on MDF board.
Hanalei Hopfe's stone work depicts the fishing god of Makua with "Ku'ula Kai o Makua."