Human Interest, Photojournalism Gallery  > Kalaupapa 


    

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Exiles in Paradise

Kalaupapa (Hawaii) Exhibit

Opens at Molokai Museum and Cultural Center

Robin F. Pendergrast, Prairie Grove, Ill., presents a 33-piece, limited-edition photographic exhibit honoring those victims of Hansen's disease (leprosy) who were persecuted and exiled to the tropical paradise of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai, Hawaii over a 130-year period.

The color and black-and-white photographs of the 'Exiles in Paradise' exhibit opened on December 28, 2002 and will be on permanent display at the Molokai Museum and Cultural Center in Luaii, Molokai, Hawaii.

The 'Exiles in Paradise' collection depicts the serenity of Kalaupapa and reflects on more than just the exotic scenery.  The photographs depict a journey of valiant people through an artful and sympathetic lens.  The exhibit results from 15 missions that Pendergrast has made to Kalaupapa from 1981 to 2002. 

Enforced physical isolation

The collection reflects centuries of painful human experience juxtaposed on an island of beauty.  From 1866 to 1969, more than 6,000 leprosy patients from many countries throughout the world were exiled to Hawaii.  This compulsory segregation forced thousands of men, women and children to the lush island of Molokaiļæ½isolated from the Kalaupapa peninsula by 1600-foot cliffs.

Father Damien, a Belgian priest, was a great advocate for leprosy patients and served them from 1873 until 1889.  He helped to tell the world about the settlement and the social and physical banishment of its people.

In a modern-day example, today's AIDS patients mirror the stigmatization and victimization of yesterday's leper colonies.  Grouped with American-Indian reservations and WWII Japanese-American internees, the sufferers of Hansen's disease on Molokai represent a population tragically separated from society.

Today, the beautiful country and peninsula on the north coast of Molokai are lined with thousands of graves and form part of the National Park Service.  Seventeen patients still live in the colony.

A book that will present more photographic images and the Kalaupapa story is scheduled for publication.

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For additional information please contact Robin F. Pendergrast.

  


This breathtaking, full-color 20'x24' Kalaupapa photographic montage poster is available for $50 unsigned or $100 signed by the artist.

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