Esteemed juror James Jensen, Curator of Contemporary Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, selected Koa Hāpu‘u Ulu lā ‘au (forest) for a National Centennial Exhibition at Schaefer International Gallery. The following is my artist statement specifically for this work:
In this painting, green represents growth, fertility, and renewal. Spirals – one of the most ancient symbols – represent change and evolution, and they also suggest the unfurling frond of the hāpu'u or tree fern. The crescent shapes suggest the leaves of Acacia Koa tree. Both plants are native and endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. In the Hawaiian language, koa means “brave” and a secondary meaning for hāpu'u is “budding.”
This work is a prayer for the survival of the native Hawaiian forest and for all things “brave and budding.” It also honors with gratitude the stewardship of protected land in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawai'i.