Terry Taube, Kona Artist
Natural Impressions

Turtle Eyeland

"Almost every culture associates the turtle with time. The turtle shared the symbol, the image of time. It introduced us to the circle."
-Terry Taube


Terry Taube lava tube entry at Lyman Museum on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Terry Taube lava tube entry at Lyman Museum on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Terry Taube lava tube cave at Lyman Museum on the Big Island of Hawaii.

In 2005, Terry Taube completed a major public sculpture, "Turtle Eyeland," which sits majestically at the Kona Coast Shopping Center in the heart of Kailua-Kona on Hawaii's Big Island. "Turtle Eyeland" is one of several public installations that Terry has created, and in his words, it is the full-circle piece in his life.

The sculpture is made up of five turtles, called honu in Hawaiian. The turtle first walked on the earth some 230 million years ago. Its roundish shell introduced us to the circle. The five vertebral patches, or scutes, that make up the spinal portion of a turtle's shell remind us of the world's five elements - wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

The table that makes up the platform where the turtles swim resembles a grass skirt, honoring Hawaii's most sacred and spirited dance, the hula, and giving the impression that the turtles are not just swimming, but dancing through time. The sea that the turtles swim in, the blue pearl, represents Earth, called honua in Hawaiian.

The pole in the center of the sculpture resembles a Pacific palm tree and represents the tree of life. The three manta rays swimming at the top of the tree allude to the three phases of time - the past, present and future. The mantas are small, medium and large, representing three generations, all woven in the fabric of time. The majestic manta ray, at 400 million years old, so ancient that it is futuristic, is a tribute to the past.

"Turtle Eyeland" is in its most perfect place on earth - just above Kamakahonu, the small sandy beach that overlooks the 'Ahu'ena Heiau near King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel and Kailua Bay. Kamakahonu, translated as "The Eye of the Turtle," is one of the most important spiritual sites in all the Hawaiian Islands.

"I spent a lot of time thinking about this sculpture before I created it and while I was working on it, but I really discovered what it all meant after the sculpture was finished."


Turtle Eyeland

The currents of time's great circle and great rotation, inspired by the gift of it,
We stand on the back of it Honua (Earth).
Here only a hearts beat away from the hottest spot on Earth.
While grandmother moon sets the rhythm of our hearts beat the ebb and flow of life's
We are here at two waters (Kailua), just moments above the beach,
And the sands of Kamaka Honu (eye of the turtle).
In a deeper sense the waters of birth and rebirth coming and going through the eye of
time, the great cosmology of creation.
The medicine wheel of time, peace and mind, the dream catcher.
Manta rays, perhaps the first to fly on earth for 400 million years the Hahalua have flown
in a celestial sea in search of our mothers milky way, a breast of it.
For at least 230 million years the turtle has walked on Honua.
The oldest eggs ever found are sea turtles 120 million years old.
Time gave us the turtle, turtle gave us time.
It is our hearts that beat time.
Our eyes flash.
In its instance on the face of the Great slide, the great rule of time and gravity.
Kindness and wisdom pacificlee.
Peace and calm here in the heart of pearl, the heart of Kona.
This is a reminder of the loving embrace, everyray of every Honua day.
Time honors peace.
Peace honors time.

Words & sculpture shaped by Terry Taube

© Copyright Terry Taube 2011
All rights reserved.