Big Island Senators Gilbert Kahele, Josh Green, Russell Ruderman and Malama Solomon opened their doors for an evening at the capitol “museum” during the 6th Annual Art At The Capitol event on Friday, April 4 from 4:30 – 7 p.m. Each senator brings a distinct perspective to the décor of their offices through the personalization of their walls according to interest and taste. The works of art are placed in public areas of the Capitol as part of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts’ “Art in Public Places” program, which was established in 1967, and was the first program of its kind in the nation.
More than 500 residents and visitors toured the capitol taking in all the art on display.
In Kahele’s office attendees viewed a 1972 oil painting depicting Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole by artist Patric Bauernschmidt, who is internationally recognized for her portraits of historical people. Bauernschmidt was the first artist to paint a complete set of works of Hawaiian royalty in a single style.
“This is an elaborate piece representing Prince Kuhio, and it reminds me of my lineage and the history of our island state,” said Kahele.
Solomon’s latest acquisition is a work of art by Honolulu resident Alison Manaut called “Nonolo,” an acrylic painting completed in 1975.
“This piece talks about involving each person as an observer,” said Malama. “Each person will probably have a unique perspective on what it means to them. I wanted this piece in the office because it reminds me of how we legislate and create policy. We have to be creative and solve many complex problems by taking in all kinds of perspectives to come up with a creative solution.”
In Ruderman’s office is a gorgeous photograph called “Volcano House Fireplace,” an image of the lava ocean entry superimposed beneath a carving of the Pele, which is located above the fireplace in Volcano House on Hawaii Island. The shot was an in-camera double exposure made in 1991.
“We are honored to display art from the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts,” Ruderman said. “Paul Buklarewicz is a resident of Volcano and he is a talented photographer. The Volcano House Fireplace allows our office in Honolulu to have a piece of Hawaii Island with us every day.”
A stunning sand-blasted hand blown glass with gold lead is displayed in Green’s office. It’s called “The Sea Before Me” and was done in 1998 by Wilfred Yamazawa, who keeps an active hot glass sculpture studio in Kealakekua, where he was born.“The Sea Before Me” refers to the nurturing ocean that surrounds the Hawaiian Islands. For Yamazawa, the sea personifies the life blood that defines us because man and nature are bound by the sea – the three are inseparable.
“This piece of art specifically reminds me of the richness and beauty that Hawaii has to offer,” said Green. “We’re humbled to have so many unique artwork from talented artists line our capitol walls and shelves.”