I Own a Marc Chagall

OK. so it’s not an original painting but a stamp. Collecting art on stamps is a very nice way of owning the art you admire until such day when you are able to go into one of those auction houses and blow the equivalent of the national debt on the price of an original. Until then I’m very happy to admire my miniature art collection.

 Please watch your feet as I step out of my box and leave Hawaii and take you vicariously  to France.

Paris the city of lovers.  French a romance language. France the one time Mecca of the artist. What do flying chickens and musical goats have to do with France and art?

In the past all artist’s felt it was important to study in Paris before ones work could be taken seriously. It seems natural that France would be among those to reproduce art onto stamps.  According to M.W. Martin in his book, Topical Stamp Collecting, the idea of reproducing paintings onto stamps came from France.

In 1961 France issued over-sized stamps featuring the works of the French masters.  One particular set released in 1963 included some of the work of Marc Chagall.

Though France thought of Chagall as one of their own, he thought of himself as a Russian artist.

He was born in the small Russian village of Vitebsk and was of Jewish decent.  He would eventually leave Russia, much to his sadness and settle in France.

Throughout his life he would never forget his home and would continue to incorporate the village and its inhabitants in many colorful ways onto his canvases.  His first wife, Bella, was a major inspiration in his work and the subject of many of his pieces.

You see here one of his paintings that France chose to put on a stamp, “Married Couple With Eiffel Tower.”

When you first look at the work of Chagall you might be taken aback.  Many times you will see lovers, bent like willows, entwined, floating.  Soft eyed donkeys, goats and chickens carry passengers or play musical instruments and they too float through the air.  The work may impress one as a fantasy.

Despite everything in this painting that seems so out of contrast, as you study it, you might see it as a very poetic and romantic story of a couple who have just gotten married.  If you look on the left side of the stamp, you will see a Jewish wedding taking place.  France is represented by the Eiffel Tower where the couple might live as expressed by the size of the tower.  The memory of where they were married and where they were from is still close to their heart as depicted by the village in the lower right corner.

Not all of Chagall’s work is easy to understand and, yes it’s open to interpretation.  Even Chagall said his work did not necessarily have a meaning and if you look at some of his other work you would be hard pressed to find one.

I though, have found the colors spectacular and the whimsy of his subjects brings a smile to my lips.

So, can people really fly? I don’t know.  There has been many a time that I have heard someone say they were so in love they felt like they were walking on clouds or soaring through the air.  What better place to honeymoon than Paris. As for music, one hears violins where there are none when your heart has been captured.

OK, so the goat is the musician, but he’s a happy goat.  As I look at this stamp, Chagall has managed to convey to me that, here are two people truly in love.  So to this painting, I can only say, Mazel Tov!

At the Waipahu Festival Marketplace

The smell assaults you as you enter. Jonah in the belly of the whale must have endured the same smell. But I breath in deep. Not because I like the smell but because I’ve been told the smell will dissipate much faster. And it does.

There are no Farris wheels, games or fast rides at this festival. But the foods, vegetables and fruits are not what you ordinarily see in the store. And if you are a fish lover, you have come to the right place. The Waipahu Festival Marketplace.

Dragon Fruit and Apple Bananas

Taro tops ( this is dry land taro, the corm is what they use to make poi with)

The heart of the banana ( this hangs from the bottom of the banana stalk) I don’t know how it is cooked but it is quite popular amongst the Filipino community

These guys speak for them selves. Also the culprits that punch you in the olfactory.

And what would a festival be without treats?

And there are many, many more offerings where these came from

Here is the information if you want to  know how to get to the Waipahu Festival Market Place


Traditions and Transitions Exhibit at Bishop Museum

After four hours at the museum I managed to get over to the Castle exhibit hall to see the “Traditions and Transitions” exhibit.  If you have read any of my blogs on the sugar industry here in Hawaii you would enjoy seeing these photos and artifacts from the Japanese collection.

The Japanese arrived with much hope and expectation having no real idea what back breaking work they would be expected to do.

Double click on the above photo to see wages earned by the Japanese sugar cane workers

As you look at these outfits that the women wore you can find them quite ingenious. I wonder if they made their own shoes? Of course they were wearing natural fabrics then, so at least they would breath. But all those layers must have been horrendous in our 80 and 90 degree weather as you worked in the open fields.

along with hopes and dreams came practicality. Here is a little shirt that was made from the rice sack. I remember several years back when this was a fad to have shirts and shorts made from them. Now you can’t even find them since it all rice only comes in paper sacks now.

I’ve read and seen movies about picture brides and as I looked at these beautiful Kimonos I wondered how many women were drawn in by exaggeration and false photos to think that when they arrived in Hawaii they would have occasion to wear such elaborate dress.

In Japan, Education was and still is very important. Those that had children set up schools for them. No that isn’t a computer screen but a chalk board. This is one of the traditions they brought with them.

These are some of the traditional books, tools clothing and toys they might have used

The tradition of Kendo was carried on as the a prefecture in Japan sent a Kendo master to teach discipline to the young children

As traditions became transitions some Japanese manage to scrape and save enough money from their meager earnings to set up their own store

a model of the inside of what one of those stores would have looked like

and like many immigrants who set up their own business they might have had living quarters like this above or behind the store.

I can still remember Musashiya’s fabric store from the 1960’s where I bought all of my fabric. It has been a part of Hawaii for over 100 years. I am not sure if the founder was a sugarcane worker but I’m sure he was an immigrant. If you’d like to read a charming piece on him you can go to http://archives.starbulletin.com/96/05/28/business/story1.html

Another store that transitioned from the fields to an important part of Hawaii life was Arakawas. It had everything you needed, a Japanese Woolworth so to speak. This is where you would find the Palaka print shirts that became an everyday site on the Hawaii scene. http://hawaiipalaka.wordpress.com/

Life on the sugarcane field eventually became more bearable and many things were added to help the workers live better lives. I will be doing a short blog on that in the near future as I cover the restored plantation houses in Ewa. Meanwhile try to get to the Bishop Museum to see this wonderful exhibit. You will get a good sense of what hard work and perseverance can accomplish.

Hula Oni ʻe

Once again two of  my grandchildren were competing in the Hula Oni e competition at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. These photos are really bad and it was at this competition where my Nikon camera gave out. But I wanted to share some of it with you even though they are not the best shots it still gives you an idea of what went on.

This was my grandsons first competition. That’s his blurry face in front. They brought the house down with their hula “The Boy from Laupahoehoe” If you would like to see a version of the dance even though casual I think it will give you an idea of why the audience loved it so much(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wr61GKYeuE)

This is my grandson’s Kumu (or teacher) coming through the hall after their second performance. You can just see her halau (troop) behind her. She was ecstatic as the boys did so well with both performance even though they had not competed before.

This was their official photo. At the end of the competition they learned that they had taken first place both in the Kahiko (ancient hula) and Auana (modern hula.) I am not sure but I believe that their outfits for the Kahiko that they are wearing here reflect the historic time of King Kalakaua  whose reign was influenced by the missionaries, hence the well covered bodies.

Trying to catch the action and feel of the hula. It’s a bad photo and yet I was happy with the hair and skirts movements.

After trying to capture images inside I gave up and thought I would try for outside but these were truly snapshots without having time to focus. Though I was using my point and shoot they still came out blurred.

Even after all the excitement of the competition a mother is a mother

Waiting to perform in the auana

I saw these guys coming down the hall ready to perform. I kept shooting and hoping but again….

So as the sun sank slowly in the west I was able to take somewhat of a decent shot that day. Though it was not the competition, it made me thankful once again that I was lucky enough to live in Hawaii.

So as my son and I left the Hilton Hawaiian I tried one last time to take a photo but it just wasn’t to be. I am going to return with my Canon and this time get the picture straight.

Shooting with a Canon

I’ve not taken my point and shoot out of my purse since I got my new Canon. But I’ve not really gone anywhere to use it either. With my youngest grandson though I don’t need to.

After picking him up from school yesterday he was up in his room being very quiet. (evading his homework) I pulled things out of his bag looking for his work that he needed to be doing. I pulled out his recorder, one of those flute like plastic jobs that they give kids in school for music.

Just then he came down the stairs looking like a wild cockatoo.  I couldn’t help myself. This is what came to mind.

“To rid your town of this verminous pox, my fee is fifty thousand guilders.”
The pied Piper of Hamelin