Exploring abstraction and the subtle layering of whites, this elegant piece by Christian Enns is a major departure from his beautiful plein air landscapes, though the landscape form does reveal itself in the piece. Christian is an award-winning surfer who captures the energy of Hawaii in all his works. They grace private collections around the globe.
"Cash Crop, Pu‘u Nene references Hawai‘i’s last operating sugar mill on the Island of Maui which closed in 2016, ending more than one hundred years of sugar cultivation on the island. The network of sugar mills across Maui transformed tens of thousands of acres thereby obliterating native ecosystems and the resident endemic plants and animals dependent upon these natural areas–species I spent decades protecting as a conservation manager.
Specifically, it was the Pu‘u Nene sugar mill that brought my Filipino grandparents to Hawai‘i as field laborers among the thousands of immigrants from Asia and Europe. The painting is a testament to industry’s role in transforming Hawai‘i’s environment and social fabric." - Melissa Chimera
Cyanea macrostegia is known formerly from Lāna`i but now found only on Maui. Dark velvet purple-black curved flowers emerge from this rain forest tree. The nectar of these unusual flowers and the orange berries are food for Hawaiian forest birds. These palm-like trees with paddle-shaped leaves are evocative of a pre-historic jungle. The species is now only found in a healthy and diverse rain-forest. Lobelioids are one of the most spectacular examples of island evolution in flowering plants with curved flowers matching the bill of their bird pollinators. - Melissa Chimera
There are perhaps as many as 300 species worldwide in the genus Hibiscus. However, ma`o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei) is found only in Hawai`i and federally listed as an endangered species. According to botanist David Lorence, “Hibsicus brackenridgei has been adopted as the official state flower of Hawai`i. Showy blooms of brilliant chrome yellow first catch the eye. [The species has] five delicately creped petals and a column of stamens tipped by five stigmas." The plant was once found on all the main islands except Ni`ihau and Kaho`olawe, but is threatened by alien animals, fire and weeds. - Melissa Chimera