Thursday, April 2, 2020
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Student art in Realm of the Gods art show, Maui

Four students at Kamehameha Schools Maui in Pukalani, Hawai’i, created works of art that were accepted at a major art show on Maui, known as Malama Wao Akua, which is Hawaiian for “Caring for the Realm of the Gods,” Ka Leo o Na Koa reports.

Silversword flowers (iStock)

High school students Kamāhie Baricuatro, Cy Ornellas, Ty Tau’a, and Taylor Watanabe had their ceramics pieces accepted for display in the show, established by the East Maui Watershed Partnership to celebrate “native” species on the island—those that came to the island without any “help” from humans. The show runs through the beginning of November.

“I am thrilled for them,” the student newspaper quoted Lori Guntzel, a ceramics teacher at the high school, as saying about the four juniors. “It’s a real honor to display your work alongside professional artists as well as students from other schools. It’s not an easy exhibition to get into. The entry date is so close to the beginning of the school year, plus it is juried by a professional artist and a biologist who is an expert in Hawaiian native species.”

With artwork on display from several elementary, middle, and high schools, just being accepted to the show can be a big accomplishment.

“When I found out that my ceramics piece was accepted into Mālama Wao Akua, I couldn’t believe it,” news editor Riann Fujihara quoted Ms Watanabe as saying. “I knew that this exhibit was a big deal, and I felt proud to be able to represent our school.”

Some of the artwork can be purchased, according to the Maui News. The EMWP collaborates with Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center to develop the show, a juried art exhibition, with winners in several categories, including scholastic categories from elementary to high school. The show celebrates the native species of Maui Nui (Maui, Lana’i, Molokai, Kaho’olawe) by inviting artists to explore the islands’ watersheds and use their creative talents to raise awareness about the importance of protecting native species.

“If we don’t protect our native species, they are all going to die off, and the natural beauty of Hawai’i will be gone and dead,” Ms Baricuatro was quoted as saying. “This means our future generations would not be able to enjoy the native plants or learn the uses and cultural functions that they all are used for.”

For her piece, she created a pinch pot of a silversword ('āhinahina in Hawaiian). On Maui, these plants can be found at Haleakalā National Park and other places, and they’re endangered, primarily from climate change, students noted.

“The silvery hairs, fleshy leaves, and low-growing rosette form of the Haleakalā silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense subsp. macrocephalum) allow it to survive in hot, dry climates like the aeolian desert cinder slopes of the crater,” says the National Park Service about Haleakalā National Park. “Silverswords live between 3 and 90 years or more. They flower once, sending up a spectacular flowering stalk, and then die soon afterward, scattering drying seeds to the wind.”

The plants totally depend on management efforts for survival. Visitors to the national park are advised about conservation efforts, which include being able to recognize silversword seedlings in the soil and avoid stepping on them.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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