Bold MANA Show Delights and Intrigues

The annual MANA Invitational Art Show is a free public art exhibition at Hilo’s Wailoa Art Center (directions here) that runs through Thursday, April 25th. The show is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photos of the show’s opening reception follow!

Thirty-four Hawaiʻi artists share their manaʻo (ideas and thoughts) and mana (spiritual life force energy) through their artworks, and three of my oil paintings – of Mauna Kea and plants of Hawaiʻi – are featured. Kamehameha Hawaiʻi students and their kumu (teacher) Carl F.K. Pao also have wonderful artworks in the show.

If that’s not enough, a retrospective of Edwin Kayton, Hawaiʻi artist extraordinaire, is a highlight in the Center’s downstairs Fountain Gallery!

Designers Nelson and Kainoa Makua of Na Makua are the organizers and creative inspiration for the show with support from the State of Hawai‘i’s Wailoa Art Center and the Hawaii Island Art Alliance.

Photos by Tom Peek


Photos from the Exhibition . . .

Art lovers talk with Kainoa Makua (foreground right with leis) while perusing the artworks and listening to vibrant Hawaiian music from Nailima Gaison and friends as the meles (songs) resonate throughout the art center.

Infused by art and music, the art opening was a perfect venue for wild and courageous thinking and a place to talk with old and new friends.

Nelson Makua and Catherine flank Ua Ku, Ua ‘Ulu, Makua’s magnificent digital painting honoring breadfruit (ulu) and illustrating the inseparability of Hawaiians and this traditional food plant.

Mana is often felt, seen and experienced, rather than described in words . . . Hawaiians believe mana can be inherited through lineage or acquired through great feats, skill, artistry, talents and gifts, which are cultivated through education and training.”    – Nelson and Kainoa Makua

Catherine’s Song for the Rainforest celebrates life in the Hawaiian rainforest. The Kolea lau nui tree pictured in the oil painting grows high above the dense shade cast by giant tree ferns on Kilauea’s flanks. Its luminous likos (leaf buds) are breathtaking as they unfurl.

Na Mahiai is one of several of James Kanani Kaulukukui Jr.’s powerful artworks in this year’s show.

Windborn Journey by Edwin Kayton depicts a Hawaiian voyaging canoe under sail.  Kayton’s artwork is flanked by Gay Covington’s Kuʻi ʻAi-Celebrating Haloa and Kalaukoa Chang’s Kahili Kiaʻi (please scroll down the linked pages for Covington’s and Chang’s artist bios).

Kayton’s painting The Dreamers. “Mau Piailug (right) . . . is aptly credited with reawakening Hawaiʻi ’s cultural spirit after navigating Holuleʻa on her maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976 . . . In 1978 Mau returned to Hawaiʻi to teach the skills of celestial navigation.” – Edwin Kayton.

Catherine’s three oils (clockwise from upper left) Jubilant, Song for the Rainforest and Mauna Kea Winter are bathed in blue-green hues to help calm during tumultuous times. Robert Weiss’s Flows (middle left) show the beginning of the recent Mauna Loa eruption.

This grouping of paintings, placed closely together, evoke a keen sense of creation and change with the vigorous swirling lava flows that build the island, creating landscapes where new life flourishes.

Kainoa Makua’s striking high fire ceramic vessels energize the gallery with their boldness and beauty.

Hawaiian music from Nailima Gaison and friends serenade those gathered at the art reception with Henry Bianchini’s cast bronze Kahuna ever-present, watching and listening.

The Wailoa Art Center reception ends but marks the beginning of the 2024 MANA Invitational Art Show and a week of dance, music and art at the world-renowned Merrie Monarch Hula Festival also in Hilo.