Past Lama

Grace and Dignity

An Afghan Photo Essay

Afghans have experienced near continuous warfare for over three decades. In 1979, the Soviet military entered the country to prop up a communist government in Kabul. The US responded by arming and financing the Afghan resistance – the Mujahedin – in a brutal war that lasted ten years. Today, the Soviet Union no longer exists, the “Cold War” has morphed into a “War on Terror”, and the US plans to withdraw with the Taliban still a threat.

These photos of ‘ordinary’ Afghans immersed in daily life capture grace and resilience, amidst a harsh landscape, and despite an even harsher political history. The text under each photo is not a caption, but presents a simple chronology of political events, events that occurred across the life span of an adult Afghan. These photos were taken in 2005 as I traveled the countryside of northwestern Afghanistan collecting life stories for my dissertation in cultural anthropology.

Author: Dr. James Weir, Director, Muslim Societies in Asia and the Pacific (MSAP),

Photo Editor: Dr. Lorenzo Rinelli, PhD, Political Science, UH Manoa.

Ron Kent


The Koa Art Gallery, in conjunction with Kapi'olani Community College's Lama Library, is proud to present works by master wood artist Ron Kent. The works on display at the Lama Library are his established "turned" classic wood bowls, along with his new experimental work in art foam.

Ron Kent made the "art scene" in Honolulu by taking a common wood material, Cook Pine, and using it as a basis for a series of works that others in the woodturning tradition said could never be done. Kent's Cook Pine bowls are so thin the vessel glows when sitting in a direct beam of light. He figured out a way to work the wood without it disintegrating at the chisel’s probing touch, while turning at rapid speed on his workman's lathe.

He discovered the integration of using marine plywood into his own art forms as evidenced in his 8’ tall Guardian figure at the top of the library stairs and into the spiral "Vortex" work in the center of the Lama Library exhibit.

Kent is always willing to experiment with a new idea and has focused his attention on the round forms or "pods" made out of the armatures of common objects such as beach balls and Wok pans for his new "volcano paintings" series. Are Kent's pods a life support structures for extraterrestrials, geodes, or cocoons for his next rich idea? Whatever the case, we can be sure that they are visuals that elicit more questions than answers.

Kent's wood objets d’art are found in many major museums worldwide: the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, the Louvre (Musée des Arts Decoratifs), Paris, The White House, Smithsonian Museum and American Art Museum (SAAM), Washington, D.C., the Victoria and Albert Museum London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Yale University Art Gallery, Newark, Mint Museum of Art + Design, Charlotte, NC, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Museum of Art, Los Angeles to name a few of the most notable.

Ron Kent's website

Turned Bowl

Ruth Patterson Hart

Portland-born artist Ruth Patterson sailed to Hawai‘i often to visit with her 30 first cousins, descendants of Robert Love Sr., the mid-19th century founder of Love’s Biscuit and Bread Company. Many of the paintings and drawings of Hawai‘i in this exhibition were created in the 1930’s and displayed in a one-woman show at Honolulu Art Academy in 1935.

Ruth Patterson's website

Hawaiian Landscape

Camera Phone Exhibit

The Art of Picture Books

Works by: Yuko Green, Scott Goto, Ruth Moen, Jeff Langcaon, James Rumford, Esther Szegedy, and Tammy Yee


Works by Anne Irons and Linda Hutchinson.

Works by Carol Wong and Paul Levitt

Come see the work of Paul Levitt and Carol Wong at the Lama Library as each artist explores the juxtaposition of images in a collage format. Carol Wong uses the computer to create a digital transition of tow images that in reality have a hard time coexisting, but in her finished product they seem at home together. Paul Levitt uses the classical approach to collage using "found materials" and/or gesture mark-making to intrigue our visual and psychological mindset. The closer you look, the more you really see.

From the Cupboard: Selected Artworks From the Backroom of the Koa Gallery

3 Painters From Windward Artist Guild

Breaking the Barrier

January 15th - February 17th, 2009

The Maitreya Project

February 16th - 18th, 2008

“The very name ‘Maitreya’ means loving-kindness – in today's world, we really need loving-kindness... This Project is really wonderful and is the result of great courage and determination, and from the depths of my heart I appreciate and applaud this wonderful project.” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

A precious collection of sacred relics of the Buddha and many other Buddhist masters is currently touring the world. This is a rare opportunity to view these relics, which were found among the cremation ashes of Buddhist masters. They resemble beautiful pearl-like crystals. Buddhists believe the relics embody the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom and have been deliberately produced by the master so that all may share in their blessing. Visitors often report experiences of inspiration and healing when in the presence of the relics. While some are inspired to pray for world peace and to develop their inner wisdom, others are overcome by emotion as the powerful effects of the relics open their hearts to compassion and loving-kindness. The relics are clearly visible inside display cases that encircle a life-size, golden statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Throughout the events there are opportunities for visitors to participate in Blessing Ceremonies, during which the relics of the Buddha are gently placed on the crown of the visitor’s head as a special blessing. According to Buddhist scriptures Maitreya will be the next Buddha to teach the path of loving-kindness to the world. At the conclusion of the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour, the relics will be enshrined in a 500-ft/152-m bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha which is being built in Kushinagar, northern India.

Student Work from the class of Russell Sunabe

August 21st - October 31st, 2006

Best of Student Artwork from the classes of Russell Sunabe

Annual Student Show: Cross Perspectives

April 13th - May 3rd, 2006

Featuring the best of KCC student artwork.

Crosscurrents: Mod'ele de Salon.

A Student Show Salon Style

The Lure of Fishing

March 20th - April 11th, 2006

This exhibition celebrates our beloved fishers of Hawaii, and the deep respect and awe for our ‘aina from the mountains to the sea.

Native Hawaiian fishing legends celebrate the great fishers of ancient times, their abilities to bring in extraordinary catches, and the fine implements that performed with precision and magic. Hawaiian fishing legends also express the importance of sharing the catch and the conservation of fish resources.

Though the nature of both fishing and conservation concerns have developed and changed through the years, these two aspects of fishing remain at the heart of fishing and Hawaii today.

He lawai’a no ke kai papa’u, he pokole kea ho;
He lawai’a no ke kai hohonu he loa kea ho.

A fisherman of the shallow sea uses only a short line;
A fisherman of the deep sea has a long line.

A person whose knowledge is shallow does not have much, but he,
Whose knowledge is deep, does.

(Pukui, ‘Olelo No’eau, 1983)

Crosscurrents: Mod'ele de Salon.

January - March, 2006

Front Entry: Selections from KCC Art Collection

Middle Gallery: ACE (Access to College Excellence) Show

Ramp Gallery: Student Drawings from Instructor Russell Sunabe

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