Presence

Date: 2016

Dressed in hues of hot orange and crimson, Halema‘uma‘u’s gas plume – a body form of the goddess Pele – dances and swirls, a mysterious, beckoning presence. Clouds off the Pacific press against the slopes of Mauna Loa, the Earth’s largest active volcano, while Pu‘u Pua‘i – a cinder cone birthed in 1959 – presides over Kilauea Iki crater.

Mauna Loa and Halema‘uma‘u crater are homes to Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, and are wahikapu or sacred places. In March 2008, after twenty-six years of quiet, the floor of Halema‘uma‘u ruptured as deep magma pushed its way toward the surface, causing explosions, pulsating red and orange glow and billowing gas emissions, but no visible red lava. With time and countless tremors, rockfalls and booms, the gas conduit slowly widened, developing into a growing lava lake that’s most often perched just below the crater’s floor. Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984, sending lava flows almost into Hilo.

Original painting size: 12in. × 16in.