KOA, Acacia Koa, Legume Family, Least Concern, Koa is one of two dominant endemic canopy trees on the six major Hawaiian Islands, the other being ‘ohi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha).
It lives in mesic forests throughout a wide range of habitats, and elevations from approximately 350’ to 7,550’. Koa forests have been reduced to a fraction of its former area. More than 50% and up to 90% of native koa forests have been destroyed due to deforestation, destruction by animals, primarily cattle, horses, goats, and pigs, especially of seedlings and young trees, and invasive insects, plants, and fire.
Over the last 250 years, humans have introduced more than 1,000 alien plants that have become naturalized. These alien plants far outnumber the native biodiversity, resulting in almost certain irreversible damage to the native forest ecosystems.
Koa is one of the most expensive and cherished woods in the world. Koa has been mined from Hawaiian forests for over 100 years, with extensive areas being converted to grazing lands. Given that koa is of inestimable ecological, cultural, spiritual, aesthetic, and economic importance, there is substantial interest in restoration of the koa forests.
Massive efforts are needed to protect existing forests, and replant forests that have been destroyed.
This painting is of KEKOA, a huge magnificent sole koa carbon dated at over 500 years old. To behold the ancient koa is to behold life.
Speaking Passionately on Behalf of Those who Cannot Speak
An International Traveling Exhibition
by Calley O'Neill and the Rama Team, Featuring Rama, the Artist Elephant
A JOURNEY OF ART AND SOUL FOR THE EARTH
Called at once virgin forests, ancient woodlands, the forests primeval, and first growth forests, these are the lungs of the Earth ~ our own external lungs. The forests of Hawai’i are beloved realms, sanctuaries of ancient splendor, power, peace, and renewal. They bring forth the rain, build and retain the soils, protect the reefs by preventing erosion, they sequester an untold amount of carbon, purifying the air. They perpetuate life. We now must perpetuate the forests. The forests are known to be kupuna. These are our ancestors. They came before us and created the atmosphere of life, the rains that bring life, and the soils that perpetuate the life of the land.
WITHOUT HEALTHY FORESTS, THE EARTH CANNOT SUSTAIN LIFE.
THIS PAINING IS A CLARION CALL FOR THE IMMEDIATE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION OF ALL FIRST GROWTH FORESTS AND ALL ANCIENT TREES.
This painting is unique, technique-wise among the paintings, as Calley applied VERY LITTLE paint to the original background canvas. Rather, she etched the tree from Rama's original painting.
She sharpened a dental pick to needle sharpness and etched every line of the tree. The only added paint is in the borders.
Every time Calley began to paint the tree, her guidance prompted, 'No, no! No paint. Etch!"
The difference in richness of the colors comes from the finish glaze that Calley applies to all the paintings. They are, after all, non-toxic children's tempra paints, which would fade and chip without a protective glaze.