Notes State Art by Carolyn Tolpo Smith, Artist
Portrait of Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon (1993-2010)
Hawai'i Supreme Court Oil on Canvas Hawai'ian Koa Frame
Outside the historic Ali'iolani Hale, one of the oldest govemment buildings in Hawai'i, Chief Justice Ronald T. Y. Moon, stands, pictured in the light of a typical sunny Hawai'ian day. An exterior view of the Judiciary Building, features the clock tower, keeping watch from the top of the painting. The depicted interior door divides the private office of the Chief Justice and the Hawaii Supreme Court chamber where Justices meet between court sessions.
A Hawai'ian meaning of the word, "Hawai'i" provided inspiration for parts of the painting:
-The first phonetic syllable, "Ha" means: to breath, representing the air or breath of life. The canvas upper portion links to this meaning, painted airy and atmospheric.
-The second phonetic syllable, "wai" means: liquid, representing water or fluid-flow in life. This meaning speaks from the ocean blue colors, painted sometimes flowing deep, sometimes dripping.
-The last phonetic syllable, "i'i" means: to gather, or understand, and links to the spirit within. A tangible reference representing ancient Hawaiian philosophical understanding appears on canvas in volcanic land, or 'aina" paint mixture that shares the visual space beside one robe sleeve.
Like the many textures and colors on the canvas surface, the population of contemporary Hawai'i is varied and includes many Asians - Chief Justice Moon, of Korean ancestry. Asian philosophy links with the painted Yin- yang symbol, suggested on the door knob, that recognizes the balance of life forces.
In ancient Hawai'i, Kapu sticks placed in a criss-cross shape communicated to everyone, the law. Reference to this communication is repeated through out the painting by criss-cross design directions. This design element is best visualized at a distance.
Chief Justice Hawaii Supreme Court