Perspectives about Maunakea shared at Aloha Art Festival

People with different perspectives about Maunakea find common ground in a uniquely Hawaiian way.

Child draws mountain with crayons. Three bins of colorful crayons are at the child's reach.
Keiki creates her perspective of Maunakea. Photos of event courtesy of ʻImiloa.
Kaʻiu Kimura
Kaʻiu Kimura

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi hosted the Aloha Art Festival on Sunday, a day-long event featuring a contest for an art installation at the Maunakea Visitor Information Station to represent Maunakea’s native culture, natural environment, and scientific innovation.

“ʻImiloa is about bringing people, ideals, and different perspectives together to learn from each other,” says Kaʻiu Kimura, executive director of ‘Imiloa. “It’s about being this gathering place where people with different perspectives come together in a uniquely Hawaiian way.”

She adds: “To create a better, more cohesive and collective vision for the future of Maunakea, we have to listen and understand one another. It’s all about relationships. We call on our community to join in having mindful, productive conversations about the future. Together we can find a way to bridge our desire to preserve the majesty of Maunakea with the scientific possibilities that only our mountain can provide.”

Group of children drawing.
A variety of media were available to create unique works of art. 

The art festival was the brainchild of Christian Hualalai Kapono, a native of Hilo, Hawai’i and a graduate student completing a summer internship at the Office of Maunakea Management.

“We’ve got some really incredible art pieces created by the innocent minds of our community,” says Kapono. “The keiki are so stoked to be creative. They’re sharing what they see, what they understand to be happening around them and it’s beautiful because it’s pure and what I was hoping for with ‘Imiloa’s Aloha Art Festival.”

With an art submission, participants received free admission into ʻImiloa’s exhibits and planetarium where families engaged in activities, star talks, educational booths and heard presentations from Native Hawaiian activists and astronomers.

“It is evident from the diverse speakers who participated that we all have different perspectives but we all share something in common: the love for Maunakea,” says Mark Chun, astronomer from the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy.

Luana Busby-Neff.
Luana Busby-Neff. Courtesy photo from Busby-Neff.

Native Hawaiian Aloha ʻĀina activist, Luana Busby-Neff, echoed these thoughts saying, “The Kapu Aloha and the love that we have for this land will start mirroring itself in our science, in our education, in our language and in who we are as a people. It will show a deep and abiding intelligence that we will draw from. Kapu Aloha at its core is about relationships.”

Four people manning the welcome table.
Staff encourages participants to express their thoughts about Maunakea.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i is a world-class informal science education center located on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus. ‘Imiloa is a place of life-long learning where the power of Hawaiʻi’s cultural traditions, its legacy of exploration and the wonders of astronomy come together to provide inspiration and hope for generations. The center’s interactive exhibits, 3D full dome planetarium, native landscape, and programs and events engage children, families and the local community in the wonders of science and technology found in Hawai‘i.

Media release