CONSTRUCTION BEGINS: Art work coming soon to courtyard area between UH Cancer Center and UH Medical School

The chalk outlines were drawn on the lawn area fronting the entrance of the University of Hawai`i Cancer Center, marking the spot where the foundation on which two new Makawalu Vortex sculptures will be placed. The earth-turning preparation work began September 20.

According to the Cancer Center, the basalt stone sculptures (shown sitting in a base yard nearyby, in photographs by UHMEDʻs Arnold Kameda) were acquired as part of the “Art in Public Places Program”. The art is a “manifestation of the gathering of energy and the presence of scientific exploration and discovery,” according to the UH Cancer Center. The basalt pieces were quarried from the Ko`olau caldera, the center says.

Chalk lines on the grassy area September 19 showed where the platforms for the stones and the surrounding pieces would go.

Chalk lines on the grassy area September 19 showed where the platforms for the stones and the surrounding pieces would go.

According to the artist, the stone vortex will include carved “eyes,” evoking the need to see through multiple perspectives, including the spiritual, physical elemental, environmental and human. Leading up to the large carved basalt sculptures will be pathways of small stones on grass mounds.

Sculpture showing "eyes".

Sculpture showing “eyes”.

The Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts created the Art in Public Places Program. The Art in Public Places law, enacted in 1967, designated one percent of the construction costs of new buildings for the acquisition of works of art, either by commission or purchase.

At the John A. Burns School of Medicine, art commissioned under the law includes the glass “Taro Leaves” sculpture on the corner of Ilalo Street and the entrance road into Kaka`ako Waterfront Park. That piece features glass leaves which project colors onto the surrounding sidewalks according to available sunlight in the area.

Taro sculpture at JABSOM.

Taro sculpture at JABSOM.

The John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and the University of Hawai`i Cancer Center are part of the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa (UHM). Both are individual entities of UHM, although they share the 10-acre UHM campus parcel at Kaka`ako.

JABSOMʻs Medical Education Building, Biomedical Sciences Building and Auxiliary Building opened in 2005, after financing for the construction was appropriated by the Hawai`i State Legislature using monies from the Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco manufacturers and the States, to redress the social costs of smoking, including death and disease. The UH Cancer Center is funded by taxes placed on cigarette products by the Legislature. Both JABSOM and the UH Cancer Center are committed to treating the consequences of smoking (including second-hand smoke) and finding better treatment options, and — someday perhaps — cures.

Story By Tina Shelton

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