Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, August 8, 2003

Dedication for 'Iz' sculpture planned Sept. 20

By Kawehi Haug
Advertiser Staff Writer

Jan-Michelle Sawyer's bust of the late singer Israel Kamakawiwo'ole is slated to be unveiled in Wai'anae in September if enough money is raised to cover casting and other costs.

Advertiser library photo

A bronze bust of the late singer Israel "Bruddah Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole soon may be on its way home from California.

If all goes according to plan, the bust will be dedicated Sept. 20 by sculptor Jan-Michelle Sawyer in front of the Wai'anae Neighborhood Community Center.

The event is contingent upon enough money being raised to cover the cost of the bronze casting and construction of a pedestal, among other things.

Sawyer started working on the bronze tribute in August 2001, but the project stalled after the Sept. 11 attacks, when contributions were diverted to assist charities helping the victims.

Sawyer managed to finish the bust this year with a promise from City Councilman Mike Gabbard to raise the money to cover the cost of the materials and the bronze casting.

The newly bronzed bust has been sitting at a foundry in Berkeley, Calif., awaiting payment. Sawyer said the bust won't be released until she can pay the $10,000 for the casting.

Gabbard said he has raised $9,000 from local corporations and expects to have the full amount by Sept. 1, when the bust is scheduled to be shipped to Hawai'i.

He said an additional $11,000 is needed to prepare the site for the sculpture and to complete the construction of the pedestal.

Sawyer, who also sculpted a bronze bust of slack-key artist

Gabby Pahinui that stands at the Neal Blaisdell Center, said her work honors men and women of song who have kept the spirit of aloha alive.

"Bruddah Iz has touched the lives of so many people," Sawyer said. "If I can bring pleasure, remembrance and contemplation to the people of Hawai'i, then I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing as an artist."

The sculpture originally was going to be placed beside the one of Pahinui, but members of the Wai'anae community said a tribute to a Makaha boy belongs closer to home.

"Iz is so well loved out there," Gabbard said. "The community really wants this. Everyone who drives by will see it. It's something they can really be proud of."

Reach Kawehi Haug at 525-8054 or khaug@honoluluadvertiser.com.