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Past Projects

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The Lifework and Collective Song of Sam Kaha`i Kaai,

Naue Ka Hona (The earth shakes) - E ala mai ia Kihanuilulumoku (Kihanuilulumoku awakens)


The title of the exhibit refers to Kihanuilülümoku, the god of earthquakes prior to the arrival of Pele and her family,

was a relative of Kihawahine the mo`o goddess of Maui.  The awakening of Kihanuilülümoku represents

the growing awareness of traditional Hawaiian thought.

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Project Directors: Carolyn Melenani Kuali`i and Moana Swan ~ Funded by the Atherton Family Foundation, Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation, Hawai`i Tourism Authority/Maui County Product Enrichment Program and Papa Ola Lokahi ~ the Native Hawaiian Health Board.

Exhibit Background: Sam Kaai, a true son of Maui whose roots stem from Hãna, Kipahulu and Kaupõ, is known throughout Hawai`i and Polynesia as an artist, sculptor and noted scholar of Hawaiian cultural practices. Sam has played a monumental role in the Hawaiian Renaissance, and has been responsible for the orchestration of cultural events that have aided the revitalization of ceremony, ritual, protocol, the manufacturing of material culture, and the reintroduction of Hawaiian male cultural practices. The historical Hawaiian objects that Sam has created and collected represent more than just beauty and supreme craftsmanship. They are contemporary Hawaiian icons that have helped to shape a deeper understanding of Hawaiian culture. For example, the exhibit featured the two original carved images that accompanied the Hawaiian voyaging canoe, Hõkule`a, in it’s 1976 inaugural voyage to Tahiti, and the awa bowls that were used in the 1991 bi-centennial celebration of Pu`ukoholã Heiau, and in the awa ceremony during the 1993 `Onipa`a gathering, which marked the centennial of the over-throw of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Most importantly, this exhibit emulated the essence of the teachings of Sam Kaai as his art, lectures and travels have challenged Hawaiians to reawaken their passion for things Hawaiian, and to deepen their understanding of traditional Hawaiian thought in contemporary times. This exhibit and the ancillary activities were produced by Kua`ãina in collaboration with the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). The exhibit opened for public showing at the MACC’s Schaefer International Gallery from December 1 - 31, 2006. The project included two community forums (at the MACC and the Hana Cultural Center), which featured a panel of notable Hawaiian and Maori cultural practitioners and `Aha Awa (Awa ceremony) that waas attended by leaders from the Ali`i Trusts (four private estates that were established by the last chiefly families of Hawai`i) and other Native Hawaiian organizations and federal, state and county government officials.