Family, Food and Friends

watercolor 2021 Dawn Yoshimura

This is Pawpaws, 12x16in transparent watercolor that was one of four pieces in the exhibit Potluck: Family, Food and Friends shown in a group exhibit at the Hawaii Pacific University Art Gallery in Kaneohe. The other piece, Old Friends was put up for auction and sold at the Punahou Art Gallery, an online sale to raise funds for their financial aid program. Punahou Schools, one of the top private schools in the state of Hawaii has about 25% of their students receiving some financial aid, and with the COVD pandemic stretching into its third year, the need is only growing.

I realise that writing a monthly blog will include some mention of the virus and how it affects our lives, how could it not? But I will try to only mention it peripherally, like the weather, it still affects my mood and activities but it doesnʻt direct or control my life, who I am, who I am becoming. I leave that work in Godʻs hands.

This painting, ironically pulls up the conflicting feelings raised when deeply emotional issues are brought up. I started this piece last year as a piece of warm nostalgia for my deceased kupuna and my dad, who grows papayas in our yard and supplies us with fresh papaya each morning for breakfast. I had quite forgotten the fierce debate about GMO. When I showed it to a friend before submitting to this exhibit, they were appalled that I would present this horrible object. Yet, others felt the opposite, that the GMO debate was hurting farmers and local food deserts. I felt torn, should I finish and even show the painting?

In the end, I decided to do another artwork to work through that question and it appeared with this painting in the exhibit. That one was titled Ancient Wisdom and I think I choose to honor my familyʻs farming background and history. Sometimes a pawpaw is just a pawpaw and it is better to let it go at that.