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Wailoa Center exhibit’s artists honor ancestors

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Wailoa Center’s Main Gallery will present the exhibit “I ulu no ka lala i ke kumu” opening Friday, Jan. 8, with a reception for the artists from 5-7 p.m.

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Wailoa Center’s Main Gallery will present the exhibit “I ulu no ka lala i ke kumu” opening Friday, Jan. 8, with a reception for the artists from 5-7 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served and musical entertainment will be performed by Apokolani. This exhibit is free and open to the public through Jan. 28.

Coordinated by Bernice Akamine, the exhibit contains the work of a diverse group of artists from the Big Island, Oahu and New Zealand with different ideas and approaches to honoring ancestors.

“I ulu no ka lala i ke kumu” means “the branches grow because of the trunk — without our ancestors we would not be here.” The title is from “Olelo No eau: Hawaiian Proverbs &Poetical Sayings” by Mary Kawena Pukui.

“As kanaka maoli, we are able to trace our lineage back to the kumulipo and the 40,000 akua, who define and inspire us,” Akamine said. “I feel it is our kuleana to honor our kupuna. As artists we have a voice and a platform, and are able to honor our kupuna through opportunities for preserving mo olelo, ‘perpetuating our cultural practices,’ and olelo Hawaii, ‘protecting natural resources,’ practicing religious rights or even creating opportunities for dialogue on possibly contentious historical events.”

“I ulu no ka lala i ke kumu” features each artist’s perspective about an aspect of Hawaiian culture they wish to honor.

The exhibit’s Hawaii Island artists include Ben Heloca, lifelong Kona resident, kapa maker, cultural practitioner and ‘olelo Hawaii kumu; photographer R. Kealohapau‘ole Manaku; artist, photographer and filmmaker Linda A. Kane, whose work includes the film “Nona Beamer: A Legacy of Aloha”; photographer, educator and musician Keoki Apokolani Carter; photographer, ethnographer and educator Yvonne Yarber Carter; wood worker and kalo master Jerry Konananui; papa creators Keahi Tomas and Shirley Kauha‘ihao; and Glenn Akamine, presenting pohaku ku i ai.

Also featured will be the work of Akamine, a 2015 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Native Hawaiian artist fellow, cultural practitioner and educator.

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Wailoa Center is a Division of State Parks, Department of Land and Natural Resources. It is free and open to the public from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The center is closed Saturday, Sunday and state holidays.

For information, call 933-0416 or email wailoa@yahoo.com.