Painted for the Copper Bar at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on Hawai‘i Island, Solomon Enos’ abstraction of kauna‘oa (Cuscuta sandwichiana, a yellowish vine endemic to Hawai‘i) represents the plant’s many forms and movements.
Commonly used in Hawaiian lei, the natural function of kauna‘oa is actually as a regulator or peacekeeper. It grows on plants that have too strong a presence on the shoreline, helping to keep the environment in balance by thinning out plants that may be crowding out other species. By curbing single-species domination, kauna‘oa encourages diversity and helps every plant to thrive — an apt metaphor for how to live in the world.
Kauna'oa, 2015, acrylic on wood, 216 sq-ft