Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawai‘i

The Painted KingFor more information on The Painted King author events in Hawai‘i this month, go to:

The famous statue of Kamehameha I in downtown Honolulu is one of the state’s most popular landmarks. Many tourists—and residents—however, are unaware that the statue is a replica; the original, cast in Paris in the 1880s and the first statue in the Islands, stands before the old courthouse in rural Kapa‘au, North Kohala, the legendary birthplace of Kamehameha I. In 1996 conservator Glenn Wharton was sent by public arts administrators to assess the statue’s condition, and what he found startled him: A larger-than-life brass figure painted over in brown, black, and yellow with “white toenails and fingernails and penetrating black eyes with small white brush strokes for highlights. . . . It looked more like a piece of folk art than a nineteenth-century heroic monument.”

The Painted King: Art, Activism, and Authenticity in Hawai‘i is Wharton’s account of his efforts to conserve the Kohala Kamehameha statue, but it is also the story of his journey to understand the statue’s meaning for the residents of Kapa‘au.

The Painted King will be essential reading for creators, curators, and devotees of public art.” —David Lowenthal, University College London; author of The Past Is a Foreign Country

“A path-breaking volume in conservation studies, The Painted King is certain to prompt readers to think further about the relationship between community and conservation in Hawaiian art, identity, and history.” —Stacy L. Kamehiro, author of The Arts of Kingship: Hawaiian Art and National Culture of the Kalākaua Era

November 2011
ISBN 978-0-8248-3495-1 $42.00 (CLOTH)
ISBN 978-0-8248-3612-2 / $19.00 (PAPER)