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Treasured Kapa Return to Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

March 27, 2018, 8:10 AM HST (Updated March 27, 2018, 8:17 AM)
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Mauna Kea’s Malia Solomon Kapa. Courtesy photo.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on Hawaiʻi Island’s Kohala Coast will welcome home three treasured kapa (barkcloth) on Sunday, April 8, 2018, that have recently been conserved by Honolulu’s Bishop Museum.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

These are the first of a collection of 11 kapa made by the artist Malia Solomon in the 1960s that will return to the hotel following conservation treatment and reframing at the museum. This work is being done as part of a collaborative effort by the hotel and museum to celebrate the arts of Hawai‘i and the greater Pacific, and to improve the care of the hotel’s extensive art collection.

The event will include kapa-making demonstrations led by renowned Hawaiʻi Island kapa makers Roen Hufford, Kaiulani DaSilva and Verna Takashima.

Mauna Kea’s Malia Solomon Kapa. Courtesy photo.

The unveiling of kapa at noon will begin with an oli (chant) by Nani Lim Yap and Manaola Yap, followed by remarks from Mauna Kea Beach Hotel manager Kansas Henderson, Bishop Museum’s Ethnology collections manager Dr. Alice Christophe, and Dr. Adrienne Kaeppler, curator of Oceanic Ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution.

Guests will have the opportunity to ask the kapa makers and museum professionals questions and will also be able to see the next two Mauna Kea kapa that will be going to Bishop Museum for conservation before they are crated for shipping.

Thirty-minute art tours will be led by Mauna Kea art docents Patti Cook and Suzanne Hill as part of the line-up of events.

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“We are beyond excited about the return of these conserved kapa and about our partnership with Bishop Museum in their conservation,” said Hotel Manager Kansas Henderson. “Mauna Kea’s collection of kapa is significant and priceless. To have the help of the experts at the museum means that generations of Mauna Kea guests and kamaʻāina can continue to enjoy these cultural treasures.”

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel developer Laurance S. Rockefeller commissioned artist Malia Solomon to create kapa for the Mauna Kea’s collection in the mid-1960s. Mary “Aunty Malia” Blanchard Solomon is regarded as an expert in the field of kapa making and helped revive the art of kapa in Hawai‘i.

“This collaboration between Bishop Museum and Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is a wonderful opportunity to shed light on our collective interest and ability to care for one of Hawai‘iʻs most vibrant art forms,” said Bishop Museum CEO Melanie Ide. In the 1960s, Malia worked closely with renowned Bishop Museum anthropologist Kenneth Emory and with the museum’s extensive kapa collection. She also traveled throughout the Pacific to study kapa until her work, as declared by Emory, “became nearly indistinguishable from the ancients.”

For more information about Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, visit, www.MaunaKeaBeachHotel.com.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Courtesy photo.

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