Maunakea and COVID-19 might seem like an incongruous pair of themes to combine in a gallery, but the latest exhibition at the East Hawaii Cultural Center successfully does exactly that.
“Ho‘okupu: Unifying the world one offering at a time” runs through May 28 in EHCC’s main gallery.
The exhibition presents a small collection of ho‘okupu, gifts that were ceremoniously offered by indigenous peoples on the slopes of Maunakea in solidarity with Hawaiian values. Each of the gifts signifies traditional skills and cultural practices and expresses shared aloha.
The gifts on display come from native peoples in the United States and Canada, Moananuiakea (Oceania), Asia and Europe. The exhibit is presented by Kukulu–The Pillars of Mauna a Wakea, a project of Maunakea education and awareness.
Accompanying the exhibition of ho‘okupu is “Thresholds” in the makai gallery. This solo exhibition by Bob Danhieux Douglas displays monoprints that were created in response to his experiences camping out at the Maunakea Access Road during the protests there, followed by the pandemic lockdown.
Douglas sees a connection between the isolation caused by COVID-19 and his time on the mountain, explaining, “Even though everyone was embracing this haole boy, I still felt tremendous isolation being an outsider.”
For more information, visit EHCC online at ehcc.org, call 961-5711 or visit the gallery at 141 Kalakaua St. in Hilo. Current hours of operation are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.