Ke Ea O Ka 'Äina ("Poi Pounder / The sovereignty of the land")
Ke Ea O Ka 'Äina (The sovereignty of the land)
from the series:'Ike Ho'omaopopo by artist: LeoHone
This painting is intended to represent the legacy of Ke Ali'i
Maka'äinana, the "Citizen Prince," Jonah Kühiö Kalaniana'ole (1871-1922), the
boy who would be king... or not...
For the first two decades of his life, Prince Kühiö, adopted son of King
Kaläkaua and Queen Kapi'olani, had been groomed as the probable heir to the
throne. Had the monarchy survived, he most likely would have become king. But
it was not to be.
Soon after he returned to his homeland from his extensive studies on the
mainland and abroad, he was faced with the horrifying deposition and
subsequent imprisonment of his aunt, Queen Lili'uokalani. His world, as he had
always known it, came crashing down around him, his dreams of one day ruling
the Kingdom of Hawai'i up in smoke.
From the ashes of these ruins, Prince Kühiö's great, indomitable spirit
rose to fight for his people. A loyal and staunch Royalist, he organized a
counter-revolution which was thwarted in its final stage. He was arrested,
jailed, and released one year later - on the same day that Queen Lili'uokalani
was released from her imprisonment in the palace. He left his homeland in a
In 1901, Prince Kühiö returned home to a rapidly dwindling native
population. He was soon persuaded that the best way he could serve his
homeland and save his people from extinction, was by running for Congress. He
was elected in 1902, serving 20 years in Congress (10 terms) before his death
in 1922. As a tremendously capable statesman, Prince Kühiö accomplished many
great things, the most remarkable being the 1921 enactment of the Hawaiian
Homes Commission Act, giving native Hawaiians first consideration in the
disposition of the public lands of the territory. He pled with Congress to
rectify the great wrong which had been done the Hawaiians, arguing that a
return to the soil would save the Hawaiian race from dying out. "You must save
yourselves by work - hard work. It rests with those who go upon the land,
under the rehabilitation scheme, to prove that they can and will remain upon
the soil and get a living from it."
He urged Hawaiians to take pride in their American citizenship and to
work within the system to get ahead. After one of his most successful
elections, he proclaimed in triumph: "Hawaiians have risen in their glory, in
manhood and pride of their own. Hawaiians are now inoculated with love for
their native hearth, and their pride of race."
The imu (distant background), the taro pulling in the ancient lo'i
fields (middle), and the exclusively Hawaiian poi pounding (foreground) are to
illustrate the sovereignty of the land - ke ea o ka 'äina.
The young model in the foreground is Raycyn, eldest son of Pua Moefu
(hula painting). I was fascinated by his resemblance to the very young
Kühiö(Raycyn is also from Kaua'i). In portraying the prince both in his
formative years and as an adult statesman (shown on horseback the way he so
often was), I wanted somehow to "introduce" you to the child who would one day
row up to make the single greatest ongoing contribution to people of Hawaiian
ancestry. (As with the other ali'i in this series, their eyes will follow you
anywhere in the room.) The faint image of the house against the newer house is
one of the first Hawaiian homesteads (Moloka'i, circa 1926).
The two models (with visible faces) pulling taro are from the left, my
husband, Kamuela Magno, and on the right, my good friend, Libert O'Sullivan.
Libert made many trips with me up to the lo'i fields in Waiahole to research
this painting. He regularly pulls taro there and pounds poi at the Poi Factory
by the highway. He gave me a basket he had just finished weaving and I put the
poi pounder in it and painted it thus. Tending the imu along with their late
father, Ramus Ho'olulu Seabury, are my nephews, (left to right) Keone (father
of Briana from the Leimakers), Kala, (grandfather of Ku'ualoha from the
Leimakers), and Kekai. The poi pounding board and the poi pounder are over one
hundred years old. They belong to the Daniel Kapuniai ohana in Waimanalo.
Unframed Limited Edition Sizes:
Artist Proof: 75 Size: 68x55
Large: 288 Size 50x40
Medium: 288 Size: 40x32
Small: 288 Size: 30x24