Issue 8.1: February/March 2005

Peace Art


by Julia Steele
photo by Kyle Rothenborg

There aren’t many places in the world where you’ll find photos of Queen Lili‘uokalani, Bob Marley and Malcolm X together on one table—in fact, the gallery of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center may be the only one. This small space on Pauahi Street, the political conscience of downtown Honolulu’s thriving art scene, opened two years ago in a space dedicated to promoting art that promotes peace and non-violence. The PJRC can be counted on for live events—a street-side concert by a Tongan brass band; a discussion with an Israeli activist on grassroots efforts to work toward peace in Palestine; a talk by Thai scholar Sulak Sivaraska, a Buddhist nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize—but its mainstay is its exhibits. The gallery has sponsored shows by photographers, painters, ceramicists and sculptors. "Whatever touches the Pacific, we feel is very vital," says

Dr. Ha‘aheo Guanson (at right in the photo), who, along with Dr. Reverend Kaleo Patterson (at left), runs the PJRC. Local artist Meleanna Meyer displayed vibrant canvases filled with the colors and textures of traditional Hawaiian life; two of her paintings remain on display, including a beautiful large-scale study of a lauhala mat. Photographer Jan Beckett hung his images of a heiau (temple) threatened with destruction. Kuna Indian women from Panama displayed the intricate, colorful "mola" clothing they make, garments that became symbolic of non-violent struggle after the government outlawed molas in the 1920s and Kuna women continued to wear them.

In December, says Ha‘aheo, the gallery showed "work that focuses on the connections between people and land"—the work of Solomon Enos, an acclaimed young Hawaiian artist from the Wai‘anae Coast whose work explores Island mythologies.

Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center Art Gallery
(808) 531-5122