Nourishing Common ‘Connections’ With That Peaceful Monk

While Tenzin Gyato (called “Braddah Tenz” by some new Hawaiian friends) gave much of himself in his brief time on Oahu last month, the students of Kailua High School welcomed the exiled Tibetan leader and gave him something of themselves in return.

Dalai Lama

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The Dalai Lama admires the student-made Peace Quilt, presented to him by Jeremiah Taleni, during an assembly April 16 before hundreds of teens and guests at Kailua High School. The paddle gift is visible next to Taleni.

The Dalai Lama came to the campus April 16, his final day, when the school gave him a wooden canoe paddle, and the visual art students presented a Peace Quilt they’d made to show the cultural connections Hawaii shares with him and his people.

“Students in small groups had to choose, sketch and create symbols for peace as it relates to Hawaii,” explained art teacher Noni Floyd. “These were cut out of folded fabric and made into quilt patches that show radial symmetry and good use of color and contrast.” Her classes actually created two quilts from these patches – one for His Holiness, 76, and one as a school keepsake of the historic visit.

Using batiks, mosaics and mandalas – which convey balance in sacred Hindu and Buddhist art – these same teenagers also have mounted an art exhibit called “Global Connections,” which is on view now through May 8 at Morning Brew coffee house in Kailua.