Posts made in July, 2013

“Pu’uhonua O Honaunau”

Posted on Jul 11, 2013 in Arts & Culture, Pacific Islands | 0 comments

Artist Dawn Gilbert’s Oil Painting, “Pu’uhonua O Honaunau”, is part of the Kaleidoscope Exhibition July 8 – July 31, 2013 | Arapahoe Community College | Littleton, CO Aloha e kakou,     The Colorado Gallery Of The Arts is again presenting its annual juried show, ‘Kaleidoscope’, located on the Arapahoe Community College campus, 5900 South Santa Fe Drive, in Littleton, Colorado.  A community exhibit for emerging artists, ‘Kaleidoscope’ offers the public the opportunity to see the recent work done by some of the most talented painters, photographers, and sculptors in the greater Denver metropolitan area.  Submissions were carefully scrutinized by the selection jury, and upon acceptance, were handed over to the exhibit’s curators for hanging and display.  The piece receiving the title of Best Of Show will be given the opportunity of having a solo showing of their artwork.     One painting that was accepted for exhibition was “Pu’uhonua O Honaunau”, by Dawan Gilbert.  A 2011 graduate of Metropolitan State University Of Denver with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Dawn’s submission for ‘Kaleidoscope’ is a 36″ X 48″ oil on canvas landscape depicting the area along the shore of the ‘City of Refuge’ located in South Kona of the Big Island of Hawai’i.  In traditional Hawaiian times (prior to 1820), this was a wahi pana, a sacred place, where religion and politics were intermingled with a reverence for the Ali’i Nui, the High Chiefs, who were looked upon as the intermediaries between the cosmic forces of Nature and the common man.  Dawn’s combination of landscape and seascape looks across Kapuwai (“Taboo Water”) Cove from the pahoehoe lava rock bench towards the Hale O Keawe (“House of Keawe”), a mausoleum for the Kings of Hawai’i Island and their close family retainers.  While though today, the Hale O Keawe is empty of its royal remains, it nonetheless retains the mana, the supernatural, divine power, that  has been a part of this area for hundreds of years.     A recurring theme in her art, Dawn Gilbert has a special place in her heart for this sacred place, and it shows in the details of her work.  Like the kolea, or golden plover, she is a frequent visitor to Hawai’i, and they both can be seen clambering over the ropy lava flow, overlooking the tidepools, seeking whatever they can find among the rocky outcrops.  Algae clings to the stones along the ocean’s edge, as crabs and small fish forage for scraps of food in the placid waters.  Offshore, a swell is running, with waves rising out of the deep, their tops caught by the offshore breeze, cresting, and finally breaking onto the rough, lava rock shore.  Nestled by the surrounding grove of ancient coconut trees and the walls of the sanctuary, the simple looking hale pili, or grass house, stands as a lonely sentinel overlooking the brooding ocean, closely attended by a phalanx of ki’i, carved wooden representatives of the Akua that the Hawaiians of old prayed to for their benevolent protection.     Although Dawn prefers to portray her subject matter in a representative, realistic way, she is somehow able to transform these things that are solid into a surreal amalgam of strange shapes and forms, where the observer’s psyche comes into play by conjuring up visions of faces, animals and objects in a manner reminiscent of a Rorshach Test.  Stepping away from the canvas allows the brush strokes to blend and to meld, until the flat surface transforms itself into a window, looking out onto the sacred grounds of the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau, in an almost 3-D effect.     For those...

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