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A Conversation with Puni Kukahiko on the Halekulani Hotel (page 2)

DW__You have made three paintings based of this very place. This first one is entitled "Warrior and Kaua".

PK__This painting is about how some tourists don't understand the value of experience. Turning their backs shows a lack of respect, but I think they just want to capture something. Like at sunset, the tourists go nuts to take pictures at that "paradise" moment. Sometimes it gets so crazy the musicians stop playing for the photo-op frenzy. It seems like everything is just a backdrop for them - the sunset, the ocean, the land, the people. I don't think they know how to engage in the experience of their vacations, it's more of an

 

acquisition of the experience rather than an interaction. This isn't the case for all tourists - it's really satisfying when visitors come and truly engage in the music with their listening and laughing. That's when it feels like there's been a sharing so different from the "acquisition of a paradise moment.

That difference is real apparent with locals. When local people go, we don't take pictures of the sunset even though we know it's beautiful. Sometimes we take pictures of each other, often with the musicians after they finish playing. When singers come, they are invited to sing. When dancers come, they dance. It's an experience we all participate in, not one to acquire.