Donkey Mill Art Center 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 will open during a reception and blessing from 6-8 p.m. Friday. It will remain open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, through March 20.

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Additional events include a community panel discussion moderated by Ke‘ala Kwan from 5-7 p.m. Feb. 8; an artist talk with Kawika Eyre, Carl Pao and Brook Parker on March 6 and a monotype print workshop with Carl Pao on March 7.

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.

“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 mo‘olelo,” said Communications Director and Curator Mina Elison.

“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 year 1819 was one of significant transition in Hawaii. It was the year which witnessed the death of Kamehameha. His beloved wife, Ka‘ahumanu, 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 Kuamo‘o 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.

It is fitting that several civic and social groups including ‘Ahu‘ena Inc., Royal Order of Kamehameha I, Mamalahoa, Halau I Ka Leo Ola O Na Mamo, Kamehameha Publishing, Volcano Art Center, Kamehameha Schools Hawaii, East Hawaii Cultural Center/HMOCA, Kohala Hawaiian Civic Club, Malu ‘Aina-Center for Non-violent Education and Action, Pu‘u Kohola National Park and the Donkey Mill Art Center have joined efforts to mark the significance of Kamehameha’s legacy which continues to reverberate today.

David Kawika Eyre has taught Hawaiian language at Kamehameha Schools for 23 years. His book “Kamehameha — The Rise of a King” won a Palapala Po‘okela 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 the island of Oahu, Carl F. K. Pao graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1989. He earned a BFA at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1994, with an emphasis in ceramics, earning an Outstanding Senior Ceramic Student Award.

Pao received his masters of fine arts with first-class honors in 1999 from Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, Aotearoa (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.

In January 2018, Pao transferred to the Keaau campus.

Outside of his teaching schedule, Carl continues to create his own art.

All are invited to hear different perspectives on the life of Kamehameha, his leadership, complex relationships with Ka‘u chief Keoua, and how we can move into the future informed by lessons of the past.

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Donkey Mill Art Center is located at 78-6670 Mamalahoa Hwy., Holualoa.

For more information, call 322-3362 or visit donkeymillartcenter.org.

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