Controversial artwork will soon be uncovered

Published On: Sep 19 2013 11:08:00 PM HST

A quick decision by the Hawaii Tourism Authority could have led to lawsuit because of a violation of the "Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990." Instead, after two days at the drawing board, both sides have reached a compromise.

Hidden behind a curtain, a piece of art entitled "Forgotten Inheritance" might be remembered for its controversy. Two weeks ago, the Hawaii Tourism Authority planned to remove the piece.

HTA President Mike McCartney allowed the mural to be covered because the depiction of bones offended some Native Hawaiians.

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

The artist, Hans Ladislaus, heard the news from California. His attorney, Bill Meyer, met with representatives from the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and Arts as well as McCartney over the past two days. If an agreement couldn't be reached, Meyer said Ladislaus would have sued.

After two days, the state reconsidered its decision.

"They've given their word... that they will take no action to remove the artwork from its present installation site," said Meyer.

Meyer says McCartney apologized several times at their meeting.

"I think upon further reflection he realized that he probably should have had a discussion with the artist before taking that action," said Meyer.

The HTA released this statement Thursday;

"After a series of productive meetings with all the involved parties, the HTA is pleased to announce that a mutual understanding has been reached which will allow the piece by Hans Ladislaus to be put back on display at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

"This mutual agreement was based on sincere mutual respect between the involved parties and includes continuing discussions with the involved parties to further their understanding and appreciation of the various perspectives raised during this process."

"We want to thank everyone for their patience, understanding, and willingness to work towards an agreeable solution to this very difficult issue."

Some still question how the HTA will remove the cover from the piece of art.

"Mike has also given his word that in the off hand chance that there is some damage to the artwork, he would work with the artist to make sure that that is rectified," said Meyer.

Meyer says this is a lesson for all property owners.

"You've got to be very careful when you allow artwork to be installed into your building, because depending on the facts and circumstances, the ability to remove the artwork may be hampered," said Meyer.

There's still no word on when the curtain will be removed. Ladislaus lives in California, but he owns a home on the Big Island and comes here often.

He may meet with those in the Native Hawaiian community who were offended, including Paulette Kaleikini, to explain the art work.

KITV4 reached out to Kaleikini but have yet to hear back.


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