INTRODUCTION TO GALLERY
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INTRODUCTION TO HAWAI'I GALLERY
No longer a Polynesian paradise inhabited by competing factions on its islands, though Hawai’i is still an island chain inextricably tied to volcanoes. Vestiges of the native Hawaiian culture are memorialized, but that Protestant missionary-founded school, Punahou continues to breathe life thanks to Hawai’i’s post-colonial elite while the Kamehameha Schools need to continue fighting to protect their aim to serve the indigenous Hawaiians. Monk Seal and hono live astride imported geckos, birds and tropical flowers. Hawai’i’s son, Daniel Inouye, passes before another island sunset.
Hawai’i is many things to many people. These pictures are from a short return visit after having lived there for about a year a few years back. Having grown up in Southern California, Hawai’i’s beaches is not what is most distinctive about the islands but rather, the volcanoes (see gallery page 4) and flowers (3) while remnants of native Hawaiian culture (1-2) are difficult to find unless they can be commoditized. There is something awesome about seeing active lava flows in person perhaps because they remind us how land is formed at one time liquid and too hot to support life as we know it and yet cooled over time, what helps provide us with sustenance. The shape of dried lava flow, black with hints of red iron, when it still retains the memory of its liquid past is a marvel of ripples, folds, bubbles, reflective sheen made more spectacular when green plant life begins to pop up between cracks. It’s these rich volcanic soils, the rains and warm weather which make the islands wonderful greenhouse to the world’s flowers which seem to appear in colors more bold than most places. The tiki of Pu’uhonua O Honaunau are a reminder of the pre-colonial era of Hawai’i before American Protestant missionaries persuaded the natives to abandon their religion for the religion of Mammon and shame while abstract etches in stone reveal the importance of rowing, surfing and turtles to the old life.
(If you are interested in Hawai'i's history, please check out http://www.johnsheaodonnell.com/HawaiianHistory)