I’m a long time fan of Herb Kane’s work. I can still remember visiting the Bishop Museum, where his artwork would bring life to the Hawaiian folklore that we would learn about in Hawaiiana class. If you grew up in Hawaii, then you can probably relate. Maybe not to seeing Herb Kane’s work at Bishop Museum, but surely you can remember sitting Indian-style in Hawaiiana class as your Kumu (Hawaiian teacher) taught you how to count in Hawaiian, play the ukulele, and told you stories about the ancient Hawaiians. Yes, going to elementary school in Hawaii is way better than going to elementary school anywhere else (if you can look beyond national standardized test score averages). Of course, I’m bias, but I digress. The point is, Herb Kane is not just a talented artist, but a living legend. Herb Kane is an author, historian, and cultural leader. So, I was very pleased when I stumbled upon his work during a recent stay at the Grand Wailea in Maui.
“In 1970, Kane left a successful career as a graphic artist to return to the islands of his birth. The Hawaiian cultural renaisance was just beginning, and Kane’s research on Polynesian canoes led to a series of paintings, then to the design of an actual voyaging canoe. The hokulea became the first vessel in generations to journey between hawaii and Tahiti, navigating only by stars, wind, and ocean currents. In 1987, Kane was named a “Living Treasure of Hawaii.”
The Grand Wailea is home to one of the largest and most valuable art collections in the Hawaiian Islands. Artist such as Satoru Abe, Fernando Botero, Edward Brownlee, Jan Fisher, and Herb Kane are on display throughout the grounds. In fact, as soon as you pull into the main lobby, you will notice the formidable statue of King Kamehameha by Herb Kane. This is the fourth major King Kamehameha statue in the state, with the other three being located in Oahu (Downtown) and the Big Island (North Kohala and Hilo).
Flipping through a pamphlet that we picked up at the Grand Wailea’s NaPua Gallery, we started our search for the five Herb Kane pieces on the resort grounds. This led to a one hour hike that traversed the Grand Wailea grounds and had us breaking-and-entering (sort of, but not really) the Humuhumunukunukuapua Restaurant. Try and say Humuhumunukunukuapua three times, fast.
Eventually, we did find all five of the Herb Kane pieces. Satisfied and hungry, we then enjoyed the famous Sunday Champagne Brunch and enjoyed the view from the best seat in the house.