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Artist outraged over hidden mural

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Sep 06 2013 06:14:00 PM HST

An exclusive with the artist whose convention center mural has been covered up because it depicts bones in the sand.

HONOLULU -

The art piece remains shrouded in a black cloth.

Artist Hans Ladislaus was not aware that his work, "Forgotten Inheritance," had been hidden from view.

He thinks it sets a bad precedent.

“I am appalled by it, really. I purposely did not show any skulls or anything human, I am an abstract artist, so I work in the abstract, so it was a  very powerful way to say what I wanted to say, which is pay attention to your land and the ancestry,"  said Ladislaus from his Palm Desert studios.

But the artist’s interpretation of bones in the sand is disrespectful, according to a cultural descendant of the area who doesn't think it’s appropriate to hang in the convention center, even though it's been there for more than a decade and a half.

"Irregardless, we don’t like it. It's not just me and my family. It's a lot of native Hawaiians in the community that find it offensive," said Paulette Kaleikini.

 The head of the Hawaii Tourism Authority said it was his decision alone to  have the art piece covered up.

 "I just can't allow that in the convention center," said Mike McCartney. 

He believes HTA has a legal right as the building's owner to decide what artwork stays and what goes.

He wants to replace the mural with more native Hawaiian art.

"Now that it has been brought to my attention, it is my responsibility to deal with it. I felt the best way to do that is put a black cloth over it,” McCartney said.

As for whether the artist is open to modifying his work?

 "You have got to be kidding? What I am supposed to put coke cans in  place  of the  bones? The whole point is the ancestry, the deep, deep emotional feeling when you look at that," Ladislaus said.

In any event, we're told the work is expected to remain covered, until the issue is resolved one way or another.

 Paulette Kalakeini clarified today that the protocol followed to cover the art piecewas not a blessing ceremony, but rather a "kapu ceremony" that allows only those who draped it to remove it.

 HTA will try and set a meeting between the parties--including the artist-- to work out some resolution.

McCartney said he expects the HTA to pick up the costs of removing the mural.

As for whether the art piece could be destroyed in the process, McCartney says he will deal with that when the time comes.

 

 

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