Co-curated by Pua Case and Lehuanani DeFranco
Sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU and Mauna Kea Education and Awareness
On view in the Schwartz Plaza Vitrines,
KŪKULU: Pillars Standing Together is the eleventh installment of KŪKULU, a traveling art exhibition honoring the pillars of Mauna Kea who stand for the protection of the tallest mountain (from the ocean floor) in the world. Each exhibition is committed to uplifting, inspiring, and educating, and to acknowledging, recognizing, and honoring those standing for Mauna Kea and for all sacred and storied places in and beyond Hawaiʻi.
Located on the island of Hawaiʻi, Mauna Kea, also known as Mauna a Wākea (Mountain of Sky Father), is a sacred piko, energetic portal, vital aquifer, fragile alpine ecosystem, and vibrant landscape of Hawaiian cultural practices and sites. For Native Hawaiians, Mauna Kea holds a spiritual significance, an importance that can be expressed in likening this mountain to a sacred temple. Over fifty-five years of astronomy development on Mauna Kea have resulted in substantial, significant, and adverse impacts upon the environment including the natural and cultural resources within this conservation district. When TMT International Observatory LLC proposed a new massive eighteen-story tall telescope on Mauna Kea, public opposition to this project was vocal. If built, the TMT project would contribute further to the unwelcomed acts of desecration and destruction upon a culturally and environmentally sensitive landscape that includes hundreds of ancient shrines and sites. Since 2010, Mauna Kea Protectors and their allies have stopped all construction attempts through court hearings, meetings, community engagement, and frontline actions. Mauna Kea Protectors have vowed to protect Mauna Kea and stand in solidarity with all our relations to protect their ancestral lands, waters, people, and cultural traditions.