search logo

Original painting titled "Kamehameha Lua Training with Kekuhaupiʻo," by Carl F.K. Pao.

KS Hawai'i kumu collaborate on exhibit celebrating Kamehameha

Feb. 12, 2019

Contributed by Shaundor Chillingworth

Two of our Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi hoa kumu, Carl Pao and Kawika Eyre have collaborated on a new traveling exhibit honoring our kula’s namesake and Pauahi’s great grandfather, Kamehameha the Great.

NIUHI- SHARK: Honoring Kamehameha the Great in Paint and Prose is an exhibit of original art by Carl F.K. Pao paired with selections from the book Kamehameha-The Rise of a King written by Kāwika Eyre. The exhibit is being presented in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of King Kamehameha's death.

2019 marks the 200th year since his death. His beloved wife, Ka‘ahumanu, is said to have tattooed the exact date on her arm: May 8, 1819.  1819 was also the year of the breaking of the ‘ai kapu. Later that same year, Chief Kekuaokalani, Kamehameha’s nephew fell with his wife Mānono in the battle of Kuamo‘o in a last and valiant attempt to defend the kapu system, and the subject of this year’s Hōʻike. 2019 is thus a year of reflection.

Pao currently serves as a KS Hawaiʻi kula kiʻekiʻe visual arts kumu, after serving in the same role at KS Kapālama for nearly 18 years. He is also an 1989 alumnus of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama.

Eyre is a longtime KS Kapālama Hawaiian language kumu and KS Hawaiʻi substitute kumu who wrote Kamehameha - The Rise of a King, published by Kamehameha Publishing in 2014. It went on to be awarded  a Palapala Po‘okela Award for excellence in Hawaiian culture, a Nēnē Book Award, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award, and a Read Aloud America selection award.

To kick off the exhibit, a special panel discussion will take place on Friday, February 15 at 5:30 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center's Hale Ho‘omana in Volcano Village. The discussion will take a look at different perspectives on the life of Kamehameha, in particular his complex relationship with the Ka‘ū chief Keōua.

Panel member include esteemed kūpuna - Jessie Kē and Darlene Vierra of Kaʻū and John Aliʻi Cuban of Puna. Keʻala Kwan, Kamehameha Schools' Hoʻokahua ʻIke Hawaiʻi Cultural Development Director, will be the moderator.

NIUHI-SHARK will officially open on February 16 at the Volcano Art Center with an artist and author reception held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

On February 17, Kumu Kāwika will be signing copies of his award-winning book which provides the framework for this exhibition on Sunday, February 17th from 11am -1pm at the VAC gallery.

In creating the artwork for the exhibit, Pao was inspired by Eyre’s work in the book.  

He shares, “The body of work reflects my personal inspiration gathered from reading Kāwikaʻs book “Kamehameha–The Rise of a King.” While reading, I pulled from the chapters images or scenes that I believed to be significant for that specific moment in the story or of a deeper meaning that would have importance later in Kamehameha’s life. To help me and to have an idea of what Kāwika thought to be significant, he also provided his selection of text from each chapter to accompany my visual interpretations.”

Eyre was inspired to write the book after hearing how little students knew about Kamehameha and to create content that could be a go to for children rather than “Goldilocks” or “Little Red Riding Hood”.

“Now, in most classrooms, our haumāna know what a kōlea is,” says Eyre. “They know the names of our ali‘i, the stories of our wahi pana, our sacred places. They are growing kalo and learning to ku‘i. They are singing the songs of this place and these heroes, often in the first language of the land, including all three verses of Hawai‘i Pono‘ī, whose refrain reminds us to defend Kamehameha “me ka ihe”—with the spear.”

The exhibit will run at the VAC until March 24th. It will then open at the East Hawaiʻi Cultural Center for Merrie Monarch Week, and then travel to Oʻahu for the Hawaiʻi Book and Music Festival in May. Visit for more information.

The exhibition was also recently highlighted in the Hawaiʻi Tribune-Herald.

Opening weekend special events

Panel Discussion
February 15
5:30 p.m.
Hale Hoʻomana at Volcano Art Center

Artist and Author Reception
February 16
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Volcano Arts Center gallery

Book signing
February 17
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Volcano Arts Center gallery

NIUHI- SHARK: Honoring Kamehameha the Great in Paint and Prose will host a panel discussion on 2/15 at 5:30 p.m. before a grand-opening on 2/16 at the Volcano Art Center.

Kamehameha - The Rise of a King by Kawika Eyre was written to give our keiki stories to read of the heros significant to them.

ks hawaii,special event,imua kamehameha,ks alumni,teacher achievement,art showcase,kamehameha,kamehameha publishing,visual arts,facultystaff,hawaii campus

Kaipuolono Article, Themes, Culture, Hawaii Newsroom, KS Hawaii Home, Hawaii Elementary School, Hawaii High School, I Mua Kamehameha, Newsroom, Campus Programs, Hawaii

Print with photos Print text only