Protest march planned to demand art mural be uncovered

Published On: Sep 18 2013 05:24:00 PM HST

Cemetary historian Nanette Napoleon is getting angrier by the minute.

She just discovered the art mural saga runs deeper.  Not only is the mural at the Hawaii Convention Center hidden from view, but now, so is the plaque with the artist's name.

"I think it’s glued with silicon or something. Unbelievable," said Napoleon.

HTA head Mike McCartney allowed the mural to be cloaked because the depiction of bones offended some native Hawaiians.

"If you don't like it, you don’t like it. That's your opinion but that doesn't give you the right to do what's going on," Napoleon said.

Napoleon fears the screws holding the cloak may have damaged the piece.

"Look at this. They have drilled into this," she gestured.

Pulling back the corner exposed wood secured into the wall.

"They have done this to a state building. This is vandalism as far as I am concerned," Napoleon. 

She's organizing a protest demanding that the HTA --free the mural.

Napoleon is calling for the community to turn out on Saturday at 10 a.m. and to bring signs and wear black.

Earlier this week, the governor expressed his dismay, equating the situation with "culture cops" and calling it unacceptable.

"That was experimented with before World War II in Nazi Germany. We are not going to repeat that in Hawaii," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

 Paulette Kaleikini, who covered the mural, responded with a statement.  "Native Hawaiians can't rely on the state when they are responsible for the insult, abuse and continuous desecration of our history, culture, traditions, and practices."

Leaders in the art community are rallying for action.

"I think that cloak needs to come down. It is OK to walk in and say this artwork offends me. It's not okay to cover it up,” said Stephan Jost, director of the Honolulu Museum of Art.

Yost hopes a costly legal battle can be avoided and that the community can begin a conversation about whether Hawaiian culture is respected.

The attorney for artist Hans Ladislaus met with the HTA and state lawyers late Wednesday afternoon.

Bill Mayer said he has been assured the federally protected mural has in no way been damaged.

He said  after meeting for an hour and a half, a tentative settlement had been reached, but he said that details would not be released until Thursday.





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