GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: REMEMBERING THE ART OF HOLY INNOCENTS
[October 12, 2023] The emotions are still raw, and the grieving for the lives and all that was lost from the Maui wildfires in August will linger for years to come; for those directly affected, perhaps a lifetime.
As officials painstakingly pore over the damaged areas section by section, much of Lahaina town is still inaccessible, including Holy Innocents Church. From photos, we know that the church building is gone, along with everything within it, but thankfully we have photographs of some of the precious artwork that graced the worship space.
Below, we share some of the iconic paintings by New York artist DeLos Blackmar, a long-time friend of then Vicar, the Rev. John Miller Horton, as a "thank offering for the great aloha shown him during his several months' stay on the island." It was during his stay on Maui in 1940, that he completed several paintings that adorned the church walls, altar and pulpit.
Church members recently reached out to Blackmar's daughter Cheryl, who responded in an email, "The devastation in Maui has been like a death in my family. The paintings in Holy Innocents Church were works that my dad loved most. I was able to see them twice... It is very comforting to me to kow that his artwork is helping... My dad always spoke of the resilience of the Hawaiian people, but I'm sure he never could have imagined this kind of a trial... My heart is with you all. May God bring some good out of this tragedy."
The artwork shown on this page was photographed by part-time member Bob Curnutt. Some of the images are being reproduced on greeting cards, and will be made available for purchase through the Diocesan Support Center beginning at Convention 55 on October 20 and 21.
Hawaiian Madonna and Christ Child
Shown here is a cropped version of the iconic mural (at top of this page) of the Hawaiian Madonna and Christ Child that was hung on the wall behind the altar. Ironically, the church's outdoor sign that contained a cropped version of the mural like this, was left standing nearly unscathed from the fire. The models for both the Madonna and Christ Child were members of the congregation.
The Altar - Staffs of Life
The altar paintings consisted of three panels containing breadfruit, fish, and kalo, the Hawaiian staffs of life, and symbolized the body and blood of Christ.
The Pulpit - Native Birds
Five panels decorated the pulpit, and depicted rare or extinct native birds, including the ‘apapane, ‘ou‘ou, ‘i‘iwi, mamo, and ‘o‘o. They symbolized God's word winging forth from the pulpit.