Hello Friends and Family,

1981 - Maui, the Valley Isle, Part 2

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Before we leave Lahaina, I wanted to share some local knowledge about the former Whaling Capital of the Pacific. As many of you may recall from previous LAHP editions, Lahaina has gone through several transitions — from the royal capital to the whaling capital to the tourist destination. And in that last version of itself, it consisted of restaurants, t-shirt shops, tacky souvenir shops, etc. It now adds expensive art galleries.

Even before the latter, I began collecting inexpensive art pieces which are on display in my home and which I would like to share with you today. The first four items are all antique photographs printed by the Bishop Museum on O‘ahu. I found them at the International Market Place in Waikiki (in its previous incarnation). They were only a couple of dollars, as best I can recall. (Note that some of these photos I am sharing today have "ghosts" which are simply reflections in the protective glass of the photographer and the room behind him.)

The first photo shows people dressed in their Sunday best looking at the ocean off Waikiki with Diamondhead Crater in the background. If you stand on that same spot today, you would still recognize the place — because of the dominance of Diamondhead.

Next, we see the harbor in Honolulu. I love this shot which captures the maritime history — one that we can no longer see except in the rare case of one of the ships preserved and displayed in a maritime museum.

Near the docks, women gathered with stocks of fragrant flowers from which they made leis for residents to purchase as a welcome to visitors arriving by ship. As travelers transitioned to airplanes, the lei-makers moved to the airport. Although the vendors were temporarily shut down due to the Covid pandemic, they have or will soon return. Note that these are the most beautiful, fragrant, and reasonably priced leis one can find on O‘ahu.

I love this portrait of a young Hawaiian woman, decked out in leis and a paniolo hat. (But I regret the ghost in the background — sorry.)

On one visit to O‘ahu, I found this carved statue of Ku, one of the four great Hawaiian gods. This statue is based on an original at the Bishop Museum. The carver even attached a certificate of authenticity with the number of the carving. It certainly resembles the much larger version that we see at the Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel.

Here is a photo of a watercolor painting of a young Tahitian woman. Since Hawaiians and Tahitians are both Polynesians, the painting struck a chord in me. I actually purchased it at the late Mr. Purdy's small art gallery at Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf. It was not expensive but I loved it then and I love it still.

Randy Jay Braun is a photographer in Hawai‘i who creates simulated old-time photos of hula dancers and other ancient Hawaiians. This and the next photo were a wedding gift to Kona and me from her daughter.

This is the second of the pair of Braun's photos. As you might guess, this pair of photos have a special spot in my heart.

I get to claim this photo which I took and which hangs on our wall in our dining room. This is the Maui Sugar Cane Train as it crosses the trestle on one edge of the Ka‘anapali Golf Courses. The Sugar Cane Train has largely shut down both due to financial issues and the COVID pandemic. Their new website announces that they will be reopening but without a date. It also displays this same photo (yes, mine) with my permission to post it. Check it out — click here.

My favorite artist of Hawaiiana is Pegge Hopper. This painting is "Five-Strand Pikake Lei". Mine is a small print and thus much less expensive than a full-size serigraph, which she usually produced from her original paintings (and which are even more expensive). I purchased this one at her gallery in Honolulu which has since closed — her art is still available via her website.

And this is another work by Pegge Hopper — Kui Lei. This is a serigraph and approximately three feet by four feet. I purchased it on Maui as a remembrance of the year I lived there.

On a subsequent trip to O‘ahu, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with Pegge in Honolulu where I told her about my prize piece of her art. And she told me a bit more about it. First, it is one-third of a triptych (three-part painting) — in fact, the middle portion. Second, it was the last series of serigraphs that she (and her now-divorced husband) had printed themselves. I don't know if that increases the value publicly but it does to me.

Last, here is certainly my most prized artwork. From the Certificate of Authenticity, "This beautifully hand-coloured, original, copperplate engraving of 'Portrait of a Man of the Sandwich Islands with his Helmet and A Young Woman of the Sandwich Islands' was taken from the actual field drawings by John Webber, Captain Cook's official artist. Published circa 1786-90 by Alexander Hogg of London, the man is probably Chief Kaneena who wears his mahiole helmet and cape made from feathers woven into a twine net. This chief was one of 17 natives who were killed in the same skirmish in which Captain Cook was killed. The young woman wears a traditional feather head lei worn only by women of rank.

I purchased this piece at Lahaina Printsellers Ltd., a company with several stores on Maui. Note that at the time this print was originally published, it was common practice to publish such images in a portfolio (pages not bound together) rather than in a book. Even if you are not in the market for such an item, it is fun to browse through the loose pages on display in any of their stores.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com