North Shore Artist Enriches Kaneohe Retirement Center

Carol Chang
Wednesday - August 05, 2009
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Kawai Aona-Ueoka (right) chants as artist Ipo Nihipali and her husband Kunani listen during a blessing of her inspired painting, ‘Ko’olau,’ at Pohai Nani retirement facility. Photo by Nathalie Walker, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

While the Pohai Nani retirement facility already has many resident artists, its own art studio and several bold paintings on its walls, the Kaneohe center welcomed a special addition to its front lobby recently.

Native Hawaiian artist Ipo Dowson Nihipali’s Ko’olau was blessed July 22 in a touching tribute that included the North Shore artist herself. She said it reflects on the past, present and future - from one’s beginning path to the final steps - as symbolized by “crossing through the clean clear (mountain) water to the other side carried by the mist of the forest to be reunited with one’s ancestors and God.”

In other words, the painting brings together Pohai Nani’s mission and her own.

Nihipali, who was raised in Wahiawa and graduated from Leilehua High School, is the daughter of painter Joseph Hauoli Dowson. He launched her creative journey, which includes a commissioned mural and waterfall sculpture at the UH Center for Hawaiian Studies.

She also has come to inspire others, as she deals daily with Parkinson’s disease and debilitating blindness from Sjogren’s syndrome.


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