"Six months ago, an oil portrait of Hawaiʻi’s last reigning monarch, Queen
Liliʻuokalani, left ʻIolani Palace to travel across the Pacific Ocean to the
Hawaiʻi Public Radio was fortunate to be there when the gold-leafed treasure
left Hawaiʻi and when it was welcomed last week in Washington, D.C., as part of
a new exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. It's the first time the
130-year-old oil portrait is on view outside of Hawaiʻi.
A group from Hawaiʻi made the trip for the opening of "1898: U.S. Imperial
Visions and Revisions," including members of Hawaiʻi's royal societies and
staff from ʻIolani Palace and the Hawaiʻi State Archives.
"From the moment that we went in that first morning to conduct our protocol and
our blessing, it was just overwhelming and emotional, and you could just feel
the mana of the queen in the room. That portrait is so powerful," said Arthur
Aiu of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I.
The Hawaiʻi delegation chanted the queen’s genealogy and sang "Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī"
in a private gathering before the official public opening.
Tears flowed throughout as the music haunted the halls of the Portrait Gallery.
For those in attendance, there was a mix of pride and pain.
The exhibit marks 125 years since the United States first acquired overseas
territory through warfare and congressional action. Visitors are invited to
contemplate how the political struggles in places like the Philippines and
Hawaiʻi differed and, yet, were the same."
Via Joyce Donahue, then Susan **** and also Frederick Wilson II.
*** Xanni ***
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