'Pukui' fest: Hawaii, Alaska, New England stories
The eighth annual Mary Kawena Pukui Performing Arts Festival will this Sunday bring together native storytellers from Hawai'i, Alaska, and Massachusetts on the
Great Lawn at Bishop Museum to "talk story" and celebrate native cultures through the ancient art of storytelling and dance.
The festival is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission: $3 per person for Hawai'i residents and military with ID; free for museum members and children age 3 and younger; regular admission will be charged for all others.
Among the participants in this year's festival are Ani Lomaika'i Lipscomb from the Bishop Museum; Jonathan Perry from the Peabody Essex Museum and Candida Rose from New Bedford ECHO Project (consisting of the New Bedford Whaling Museum and Oceanarium) of Massachusetts; Debra Dommek from the North Slope Borough in Barrow, Alaska, and Stephen Blanchett from the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage, Alaska; and local storytellers from Hawai'i. Storytellers from Hawai'i include Jeff Gere, Makia Malo, Ipolani Vaughan, Hailama Farden, Nyla Fujii-Babb, Janice Terukina, and Hina Kahanu.
The centerpiece of the festival is a collaborative piece entitled, "Keeping the Fire in Dark Moon Times." Created in 2007 under the direction of Tau Dance Theatre of Honolulu, it is infused with the oral tradition, dance, and music of natives from Hawai'i, Alaska, and Massachusetts. It honors ancestral stories and the diverse symbolism of the moon, its cycles, and the many meanings of harvest.
Imiloa Astronomy Center on the Big Island will host a performance at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The festival is held each year in honor of Mary Kawena Pukui, a Hawaiian scholar and linguist who knew the importance of storytelling to the host Hawaiian culture. Pukui published the first Native Hawaiian language dictionary and worked tirelessly to preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian traditions of hula and storytelling.