Commemorative Art in Public Places

fountain1.jpgThere are so many things that we all walk by each and every day without noticing them or ever noting their significance. The other day, while I was visiting the State tax office, I paused to gaze at the plaque attached to this large piece of art.  I I was quite surprised.  Realizing that I must have lost a large piece of royal genealogy, I was left scratching my head. Hats off to this artist for being moved to create such a tribute and mahalo to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts for making sure that there is a description mounted securely to the artwork’s base.


Artist: Donald Harvey
Ka Ho’oilina Mau Loa
(The Eternal Legacy)
Granite and cast bronze 1993

In a nut shell and almost verbatim, the description on the plaque explains the sculpture as follows:

  “Symbolically represents the interrelationships among Kamehameha I, Ruth Ke’elikolani, Bernice Pauahi Bishop and their legacy to the people of Hawai’i.  The water represents the wealth of benefits that have flowed from these people.   The personal interaction between Ke’elikolani and Pauahi is symbolized by the cast bronze centerpiece.  The design of the cultural forms is inspired by ancient Hawaiian double-hulled canoes.”

Ka Ho'oilina Mau LoaWe all know the signficance of King Kamehameha and most people are quite familiar with the name of Bernice Pauahi Bishop but I had to ask myself, “who is Ruth Ke’elikolani?”  As I berate myself and try to read why I didn’t know more, I have found that there is no surprise since she did not share the notoriety of her other royal family members.  I still should have known.

Anyway, Princess Ruth was the great grand daughter of Kamehameha I and upon her death she left most of her estate to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, her cousin.  Therein lies the connection.  Suddenly this shapely granite figure and its alluring draw of cool cascading water has real significance.  Such is the impact of artistic endeavors and the unexpected influence of art in public places!

For more on Princess Ruth you can visit this link to Wikipedia.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cloudia // Oct 24, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Princess Ruth (Luka) was the largest and richest woman of her day! Her palatial home was where central intermediate is now on Queen Emma. She refused to speak English (which she understood perfectly) and she went to Hilo to stop the Lava flow threatening the town (as a High Ali`i related to Kamehameha the Great and the Big Island. She went to Hulihe

  • 2 Cloudia // Oct 24, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    anyway- she went to Kona (hulihe`e palace) to die in a hale pili (grass hut). Quite a lady and one of the real heroes of my local novel: Aloha Where You Like Go? (in the Hi State library &
    I love Luka (Ruth)!!!!!!

  • 3 Evelyn // Oct 24, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    How do you do, Cloudia? I’m pleased to meet you! Are you a NanoWrimo participant? Why do I just feel this? 🙂 Anyway, I knew where you were going with Hulihe’e Palace. Thank you for commenting and for coming forward. Please, please join us for the Carnival of Aloha. I will be posting a reminder in just a few hours… if I can get the rest of the world out of my way! 🙂

  • 4 Don Harvey // Jul 18, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Mahalo for taking the time to look at and into the meaning behind my sculpture. I appreciate your kind words and the powerful legacy of the Kamahameha Ali`i.

  • 5 Evelyn // Jul 18, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Wow! Hi Don! I get weird about art sometimes and tend to involve myself in a piece that pulls my heart strings for some reason. Your piece led me to the gift shop at Queen Emma’s Summer Palace where I purchased a CD. It is so wonderful! My husband and I watched it at least twice, I’m thinking maybe three.

    I was also moved to see her name on the tomb at Mauna ‘Ala. I still have to talk about all of these things. Thank you for your comment — it’s an honor to hear from the artist!

    Thank you also for being the catalyst prodding me to talk about some of the things on my list of pending posts!

    More than anything, thank you for providing such a beautiful form with its wonderful choices of medium and wonderful running water! 🙂 Hats off to you!

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