Exhibit Shows Off Feather Work And Gives Deeper Connection

Jan 7, 2007 10:33 PM

By: Stephen Florino

(KHNL) - From feathered hats made today, to cloaks worn by alii in old Hawaii. It was all part of a unique exhibit at the Bishop Musuem. Visitors say each piece showed the expertise in the art, even in old Hawaii, but it also provided a deeper connection to many.

Many of these items are a part of Hawaii history, making it part of Native Hawaiians. And they say this exhibit inspires them to continue their traditions and culture.

Liana Kekawa brought her kids to see Liloa's sash because of their family tie.

"The reason I brought them was to show them a part of their geneaology," said Kekawa. "From my dad's side and from my mom's side, we're related to Liloa."

This is the first time ever the Bishop Museum featured a display with only feather pieces. Items from old hawaii -- like the ahu ula, or feather cloaks -- were made only for alii.

"You feel the presence of these chiefs and chiefesses because they graced the body of them," said Hiilani Shibata, tour guide at the museum. "I look at it as if they're right in our presence, so the respect is overwhelming."

The exhibit also provides a sense of pride. That's why Kekawa says she sends her kids to Hawaiian emersion school, to learn more about their traditions, culture, and language.

"Our dream is for everybody to speak it and soon we'll have a whole culture with it," said Kekawa.

And exhibits like this one just remind them of their history.

"I have a sense of belonging because I know where I come from and who I come from," said Kekawa. "Just seeing things like this is just awesome."

Sunday was the last day for the featherwork exhibit.

The museum isn't sure if it'll put out the display again.