Mall Level 2, Ewa Wing
Bumpei Akaji’s work “Manu Lewalani” or Birds Aloft, features a large flock of stylized bronze sea birds taking flight from a pond. Manu Lewalani represents the faith of Walter F. Dillingham, who in 1912, purchased the marsh of rice and taro patches on which the Ala Moana Center now stands. This work was originally dedicated in 1966 by Hawaii artist Bumpei Akaji, in memory of Walter and Louise Dillingham, whose dream to preserve and enhance the beauty of all Hawaii are now part of our heritage.
Bumpei Akaji was born on Kauai in 1921. In 1943 he joined the United States Army and was sent to Italy where he was inspired by the artwork. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and at the Academia de Belle Arti, Brera in Milan. In 1950, he returned to Honolulu and in 1951 received a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Akaji learned welding from a local mechanic and is now best known for his large-scale welded copper and brass sculptures, which are both organic and abstract in nature. The welded and/or pounded surfaces of his sculptures are often warm and sensual and over time develop a unique patina.