Donkey Mill Art Center Hosts 2017 Biennial of Contemporary Art

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Photo courtesy of Donkey Mill Art Center.

The Donkey Mill Art Center (DMAC) is hosting the second Big Island Biennial of Contemporary Art entitled “From Hand to Hand” through Saturday, June 24. The exhibit features local artists in a variety of disciplines and highlights the relationship between master artists and their proteges.

This year’s featured artists are celebrated woodworker Tai Lake and his two sons, Jonah and Noa Lake; accomplished weaver Ed Kaneko and Barbara Watanabe; and prolific multi-media artists Henry Bianchini and Eve Furchgott.

Lake has dedicated his life to the study of woodworking and design. He began his art at Buckminster Fuller’s design department at Southern Illinois University. After a woodworking apprenticeship that took him all across the U.S., Lake came to Hawai‘i in 1980 as an architectural woodworker. Now a master, Lake is known for his respectful use of reclaimed native woods and has passed his practicing knowledge to his sons, Jonah and Noa.


Jonah Lake often puts the finishing touches on his father’s pieces. He is partial to metals and has taken the lead on custom hardware that complements the signature designs of his father’s woodwork. Though he never engaged in an apprenticeship with his father in the traditional sense, Jonah has worked by his side for the past 30 years and has gained a firm and intuitive understanding of the craft.

Noa Lake uses hand tools to carve sculptural vessels from Hawai’i-grown hardwoods. His pieces vary greatly in size and shape, depending on the woods he uses.

“While my dad’s work evolved, I had the unique privilege of learning from him, and he continues to be a font of knowledge,” said Noa Lake. “He gave me the spark, a deep understanding of not only the craft, but of the wood itself—without that I wouldn’t have such a deep love for it.”


Kumu Edward Kaneko specializes in lauhala weaving and has practiced his craft since he was five years old. The sixth born of 11 siblings, Kaneko learned weaving from his father, a coffee farmer who supplemented the family income by crafting lauhala baskets for various uses. Kaneko’s dedication to culture and the Kona community led him to serve on the Board of Kona Historical Society for 10 years, and become one of the founding members of the Holualoa Foundation of Arts and Culture (now known as the DMAC). He currently leads Wednesday Weavers, a weekly craft group to revive the art of lauhala weaving.

Henry Bianchini is a prolific, self-taught artist working in various materials including wood, stone, painting, printmaking, cast concrete and bronze. His work merges his love for music, family and the spirit of travel and adventure. Bianchini believes Hawai‘i’s rich land and people imbue a nurturing and healing quality that has helped him develop his identity through his work.

Eve Furchgott has been drawing and creating art since she was a young child. Mostly self-taught, she created graphic design illustrations and comics while living in San Francisco in the ‘70s and ‘80s. She also started Blue Heron Multimedia in 1992 in Marin County, Calif. She came to Hawai‘i in 1993 and met Harry Bianchini shortly after, who broadened her appreciation and understanding of both abstract and contemporary art.


The DMAC, home for the Holualoa Foundation for Arts and Culture, is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Center provides an environment to help individuals discover, develop and expand their artistic abilities. For more information, visit www.donkeymillartcenter.org or call (808) 322-3362.

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