In doing the painting, I tried to keep every thing as authentic as possible. The background for the painting is an actual depiction of the flora and topography of the area that Janna and I observed when we hiked down the 2200 foot cliff to reach the site of Kalowo. It is still a harsh land. The rainbow is symbolic of a blessing even in the ancient Hawaiian culture. Damien and his compassion were, in deed, a blessing to a forgotten people.
Close-up of picture on right
4'x5' Oil on Linen 2009 (Private Collection)
This was painted from "my imagination". It depicts Father Damien, the leper priest, on the Isle of Molokai surrounded by Hawaiin lepers patients and orphans. Damien went to Molokai in 1871 to take care and nuture the dying outcast Hawaiians who, because of their leprosy, were banished to the desolate pennisula settlement of Kalowo. He brought compassion, love and hope for eternal life to a forgotten people. The painting was used in Damien's canonizsation ceremony in 10/09 and will hang as a center piece in the new St. Damien's Church.
Father Damien was a vibrant "man's man" who connected with the people as "one of us". There were only two good photos available Damien, one before he went to Island of Molokai. The other photo was one of him after he contracted the desease of leprosy shortly before his death in 1889. I observed the early photo, aged him, and then depicted him, in his prime, giving of himself and love and be loved in return.