The Ho'oulu exhibit that opened last week at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center is a retrospective of the hula world's giants, including early photographic images of Roselle Keli'ihonipua Bailey and Keli'i Tau'a of Maui, and of the late John Keanuenue Ka'imikaua of Molokai, Elaine Ka'opuiki of Lana'i and John Keola Lake of Maui.
The luminaries of hula are revealed in 68 selected photographs from the coffee-table-sized twin volumes of "Nana I Na Loea Hula- Look to the Hula Resources." The exhibit also includes images by George Bacon and Chris McLuckie, and several paintings.
The “Ho‘oulu: The Inspiration of Hula” exhibit is on display until Dec. 23 in Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Jose Morales photo
The books were the brainchild of Wendell Silva, former executive director of the Kalihi-Palama Culture & Arts Society, which commissioned the black-and-white images by photographer Shuzo Uemoto. The latter shot most of the displayed portraits from 1982 to 1984.
The exhibit displays the enlarged photos and excerpts from the volumes, with quotes distilling the philosophies of the individual masters. Others featured include Nona Beamer, Maiki Aiu Lake, Robert Uluwehionapuaikawekiuokalani Cazimero and Howell Kawaili'ula "Chinky" Mahoe.
The collection offers historic documentation of those who committed themselves to relaying the cherished cultural legacy of hula.
Ho'oulu: The Inspiration of Hula
The Maui Arts & Cultural Center, in collaboration with the Art in Public Places Program of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, presents a trilogy of hula happenings: an art exhibit, hula show and panel discussion, as follows:
* "Ho'oulu: The Inspiration of Hula" exhibit of hula-inspired portraits and artifacts from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays to Sundays, and before Castle Theater shows, through Dec. 23, at MACC's Schaefer International Gallery.
* "Generations - The Farden Family in Hula and Music," showcasing kumu hula Holo'aumoku Ralar, kumu Hailama Farden, family members and students performing at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 27 in MACC's McCoy Studio Theater. Tickets are $25 for adults, $12.50 for children 12 and younger, plus applicable fees.
* "Storytelling Festival - Family Hula Stories," featuring Maui hula families, plus photographer Shuzo Uemoto, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 11 in Schaefer. Entry is free.
The exhibit also represents a recent, ongoing collaboration between the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and the Maui Arts & Cultural Center - a relationship that reflects the legacy of the late Pundy Yokouchi of Wailuku.
Yokouchi was founding executive director of SFCA and the visionary benefactor who led the capital campaign to start the MACC; so Ho'oulu, which means inspiration, illuminates the foresight of both Silva and Yokouchi.
The exhibit premiered last year in the Hawai'i State Art Museum in downtown Honolulu.
But the MACC exhibit goes a step beyond the Oahu show by showcasing three uninterrupted Maui hula lineages: the Farden 'ohana, especially the late, legendary Emma Kapi'olani Farden Sharpe and Kathryn Holo'aumoku Ralar; the Long 'ohana, including the late Ida Pakulani Ka'aihue Kai'anui Long, her daughters - the late Mae Ulalia Long Loebenstein, and Thelma Kahili Long Cummings and Leianaikaroselaniomaui Long Woodside - and the latter's daughter, Hokulani Haila Hi'ileiali'i Holt; and the Maxwell 'ohana, including the late Nina Boyd Maxwell of Pukalani Hula Hale and daughter Hi'ilei Maxwell-Juan.
The families are represented by displays of artifacts, including pahu, or drums; puniu, or knee drums; pa'u, or skirts; and lei hulu, or feather garlands.
In addition, one may view a 2-hour, 8-minute video featuring 2000-'08 Hula Preservation Society interviews with kumu hula.
For hula practitioners and devotees, the exhibit presents an interlude in the recesses of the heart of the artform. One may linger amongst the loea, and discover connections and intertwinings between family, halau and island traditions. For example, Aunty Emma Farden Sharpe co-founded Na Mele O Maui youth song competition.
Most importantly, the breadth of the exhibit documents how more than five dozen treasures have shared their unique cultural knowledge and expertise. Viewers emerge gratified by the continued Ho'oulu, or inspiration, of hula.
Besides the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts' Art in Public Places Program, partial supporters of the exhibit are the Hawai'i Tourism Authority and the County of Maui Office of Economic Development.
* Kekoa Enomoto can be reached at email@example.com.