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  • Writer's pictureSarah Taylor Ko

The Palila Project

The Palila Project is up at Viewponts Gallery in Maui! I made 11 paintings, a sculpture, and facilitated a large mural celebrating the critically endanger honeycreeper that lives on the slopes of Mauna Kea and no where else in the world. Arah Ko wrote 2 poems inspired by the Palila's song, and biologist Lisa Mason informed the artwork.

The Project was created around the idea of makawalu.

In Olelo Hawai'i, maka means eyes, and walu is eight. The word has the connotation of

an abundance of perspectives. I wanted to see the palila with an 8 eye view, so I envisioned

8 parts of this project:




collaborative mural

biological research




In addition to a multitude of perspectives makawalu implies infinite resources.

I found it intriguing that while we count the digits on our hands the ancient Hawai'ians

looked at the 8 spaces between our fingers. The empty places could hold 8 fish tails or 8 taro

leaves. Instead of absence they saw possibility. For them, 8 was a number of completeness.

My intentions were to portray the endemic Hawai'ian palila with rich possibility rather than

the extinction predicted in its future.

I have a limited number of softcover books documenting the project, available here:

You can see video of the project here:

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