To celebrate the most acclaimed artist of them all - Mother Nature - the Malama Wao Akua juried exhibition each year displays works that honor Maui County's native species.
This year the show, which opens next weekend, will honor two decades of conservation work by the East Maui Watershed Partnership. Because without efforts to preserve and protect our county's natural resources, Mother Nature's art would not thrive.
"EMWP was the first watershed partnership in the state, formed in 1991 to pool economic, technical and human resources in a combined effort to protect the 100,000-acre watershed," according to an EMWP release. "From this idea a total of 10 watershed partnerships now exist throughout the State of Hawaii."
“Hui Palua (Coupled),” a watercolor by Kuakea Yasak, won last year’s Malama Wao Akua high school division.
EMWP started in 1991 with an agreement among landowners East Maui Irrigation, Hana Ranch, Haleakala National Park, Haleakala Ranch, the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy to protect a 100,000-acre area on the windward slopes of East Maui.
Since its inception, miles of fence have been erected to protect 40,880 acres of managed East Maui Watershed lands.
"Fencing is proved to be the most effective barrier against ungulates that generate native species habitat loss, the number one threat to Maui's native flora and fauna," according to EMWP. "For all its biological riches the East Maui Watershed is one of the most endangered forests in the world. It also provides our source of water, culture and biodiversity."
The exhibition, launched in 2004 by EMWP and Viewpoints Gallery, will open Nov. 10 and continue through Dec. 8 at the Makawao gallery. An opening reception and EMWP 20-year celebration will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.
Other activities open to the public include "Talk Story Thursdays" at the gallery with environmental experts Nov. 17 and Dec.1.
Receiving day for all artwork is from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Viewpoints. Jurying will be held Tuesday, and notifications will be issued Wednesday.
The show is open to Maui residents of all ages, both amateur and professional. Work, in any media, must depict a native plant, animal, insect or landscape of Maui.
"Since 2004, MWA has fostered relationships between the people of Maui and our precious native ecosystems," according to MWA's website. "According to Hawaiian tradition, the roots and fruits that provide for the next generations come from 'Wao Akua,' the realm of the gods, the upper forested regions of our watersheds."
For details, visit www.eastmauiwatershed.org or call 573-6999.
- Kehaulani Cerizo