Saturday, July 19, 2014

Princess Ka'iulani Statue

In the middle of Waikiki, at the intersection of Kuhio and Kanekapolei, is a small plaza with a statue of Crown Princess Victoria Ka'iulani, a niece of Queen Lili'uokalani and the last heir to the throne of Hawaii. (Smithsonian Magazine and SFGate have good articles about her short, tragic life.)

The Honolulu city arts page for the statue has a brief description:

A Sculpture by Jan Gordon Fisher. Larger than life-size bronze figure of Princess Kaiulani with a peacock at her feet, eating from her hand. Located at Kaiulani Park.

The statue's location wasn't chosen at random, or for the convenience of tourists. A Hawaii for Visitors page about the statue mentions that the little park is on the site of ʻĀinahau, Ka'iulani's home, which was demolished in 1955 in the name of progress. Oddly enough the statue was commissioned by Outrigger Enterprises, a local hotel chain.

Fisher (an art professor at the Brigham Young Hawaii campus) also created the Duke Kahanamoku statue elsewhere in Waikiki; I don't have a photo of it because it's usually mobbed by tourists. Tourists seem to generally ignore this statue, but locals regularly adorn it with fresh leis, as a gesture of respect and remembrance.

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