Ho‘oulu a me Ho‘ōla Lāhui
(To increase and preserve the nation)
12th from the series:
‘Ike Ho‘omaopopo by artist: LeoHone
This painting is my tribute to Queen Kapi’olani (1834 – 1899), beloved wife of King Kalākaua (and aunt/hānai mother to Prince Kūhiō) and founder of the Kapi‘olani Maternity Home, forerunner of Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children.
Greatly concerned with the rapid decline in the Hawaiian population, Kapi’olani (The Bent Twig of Heaven or Arch of Heaven as in “rainbow”) and Kalākaua adopted the motto, “Ho‘oulu a me Ho’ōla Lāhui,” (To Increase and Preserve the Nation). In 1874, they organized a society to carry out this purpose. Kapi‘olani was the president and Kalākaua the secretary. Together they worked toward the establishment of a maternity home for underprivileged Hawaiian mothers. (Kapi‘olani herself had given birth to a stillborn child [circa 1857], while married to Chief Namakeha [circa 1799-1859]. She was to have no other children. Through her own tragic experience and loss, she believed that mothers and babies must be given better care for the preservation of the Hawaiian race.)
After the 1874 election of Kalākaua as king, the couple began to promote their plan. The queen traveled the islands, staging benefits and seeking donations. When their goal of $8,000.00 was finally reached, the sum was placed in trust with the interest to be used for the maintenance of the home.
The first Home, “Ululani,” a renovated rambling one-story cottage, was opened in 1890. It had a capacity to care for seven patients. (When Kapi’olani died in 1899, Prince Kūhiō assumed the sponsorship of the Home. In 1917, the medical center moved next door into a larger two-story facility and the charging of fees was initiated. Those who could not afford to pay brought fish, taro, fruits, and vegetables. The name was changed to Kapiolani Maternity Home. Eventually, the home also outgrew this building and the hospital was moved to its present location at the corner of Punahou and Bingham.)
The physical setting of this painting is the backside of the present day ‘Iolani Palace, the palace created by King Kalākaua in 1882. He and Queen Kapi’olani lived there until the king’s death in 1891. I have chosen to paint two young mothers with their babies beneath the banyan trees on the palace grounds. These Indian banyan trees were allegedly planted in 1879 by Kapi’olani. They have spread out from the original two trees to the present day single intermeshed”monument” to a beloved soft spoken and gracious queen who had a dream – a dream to save her people. In the Hawaiian culture, the banyan tree represents procreation.
The real life models are my stepdaughter, Kuuipo, with her young daughter, Kaya, and my niece, Pualani (model from the hula painting), with her two young daughters, Henua and Victoria. Both young mothers had their babies at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children. When Victoria was only a week old, she underwent surgery to correct a heart condition; she is now a healthy, happy baby. My young grandnephew, Raymond Seabury, can be seen in the background, walking toward the little gathering.
– Leohone 2008
Artist Proofs 40″ x 50″ signed “LeoHone” and numbered 1/75 -75/75
Edition A 32″ x 40″ signed “LeoHone” and numbered 1/288 – 288/288
Edition B 24″ x 30″ signed “LeoHone” and numbered 1/288 – 288/288