Robert Wyland

Wednesday - May 16, 2007
By Kerry Miller | Share

Robert Wyland
Robert Wyland

Marine life artist and conservationist Robert Wyland has dedicated his days to promoting, protecting and preserving the world’s oceans, waterways and the life that inhabits them through his artwork, as well as the endeavors of the Wyland Foundation.

The former MidWeek cover subject (February 1989 and April 1995) was out and about on the island last week to attend the reopening of the Wyland Waikiki Hotel, sign copies of his new book at Borders locations, and he was at the airport Wednesday morning for a blessing ceremony of the plane, named Malolo, which he painted for Aloha Airlines (pictured above).

“It’s quite cool,” Wyland says of his hotel namesake. “We brought the ocean into the hotel, through the courtyard, in sculpture. (It’s) the first in Hawaii; we’re planning more in the U.S.”

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Wyland released his latest book, Swimming Lessons: Nature’s Mothers, last week. “It’s about sea lion mothers (and) how they raise their pups,” he says.

The book, written by Steve Creech, features photographs by Wyland of sea lion moms interacting with their newborn pups.

Also, since gracing MidWeek’s cover, Wyland has released Hold Your Water, a book illustrating 50 things people can do to keep the planet healthy, as well as a coffee-table book, Wyland 25 Years at Sea.

Speaking of travel, Wyland is especially excited to attend the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing as the official artist for the U.S. Olympic Team. The 50-year-old has created an image to represent the Olympic motto of “higher, faster and stronger.” The image of “three dolphins competing on a wave,” as he describes it, will be reproduced on posters, postcards and in sculpture.

“The American Olympic committee asked me. It’s a really huge honor,” says the North Shore resident, adding that he’s especially excited because the 2008 games will be known as the “Green Olympics.” While in Beijing, Wyland will paint his last wall mural, and he’s hoping to be a part of a pre-Olympic event called “Hands Across the Ocean.” A project of the Wyland Foundation, the event would involve young artists of different ages each doing a painting of marine life from their country, all of which to eventually be put together as one large mural along the Great Wall of China.

“It’s a great way for me to pass on my knowledge to the next generation,” he says.

The foundation also has created an art and science program for teachers to download from its website,, for free. “The Wyland Ocean Challenge” provides materials for lessons on the environment and conservation.

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