12x16in. Mauna Kea 2019. Transparent watercolor. $500
As the protests on Mauna Kea against construction of the TMT, (Thirty Meter Telescope) grew and gained more attention in the media, I was sitting on a sailboat in Sweden. As the crowds grew, there were a lot of opinions and growing hard feelings.
I searched online for images and documentation of ‘Mauna Kea’ and was astounded to see how much was already up there! I had imagined a telescope of the sort the astronomy club of Berkeley California used to set up for the public–but what I saw were multi-storied buildings looking more like an industrial park than a cutting edge center of science. I learned about how promises about management were not kept, how a special private road and access had been built to help kupuna make pilgrimages there using public funds, and, yes, about how world leading discoveries had been made by teams working up there engaging the indigenous community. After listening to live facebook feeds of why the mountain was considered important to Hawaiian cultural identity and practice and seeking out stories from other Native Hawaiians who supported the building of the TMT I concluded there were many stories that were needed to be heard before I could form any opinion about TMT.
These paintings came from dreams I had of listening to the mountain. In the end, the mountain showed herself to me as holy, alone, in all seasons hundreds of years before my birth, and after my death, unchanged. We seemed insignificant, because the mountain remained, with or without telescopes of worshippers.
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