In the spring of 2006, Michael Binkley was commissioned to create a memorial sculpture dedicated to Jack & Margaret Millar, who founded the Napili Kai Beach Resort on Maui, Hawaii, USA in 1962. The Millar’s daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Warren commissioned the public art work and gifted the sculpture to the Resort, and it sits on a grassy lawn, overlooking the Resort’s beach.
The subject of the Breadfruit Leaf was chosen as it is a favourite image of Hawaii for Mrs. Warren and for the tree’s historical significance to Hawaii. Breadfruit has been a staple in the Polynesian diet for centuries. The “honu”, or sea turtle was included as the favourite image for Margaret Millar. The Leaf is hollowed, echoing the Puka Puka rock, a favourite of Jack Millar’s. Binkley carved the sculpture in such a fashion so that one can sit in it, like a recliner chair.
Binkley used bianco marble from a quarry in the mountains above the famous town of Carrara, Italy where the world’s finest marble is produced. It was his intention that this material would be appropriate for a sculpture to exist beside the ocean.
Binkley polished the surface of the leaf to a high sheen and the sides are a smooth, matte surface. The relief of the sea turtle is a rough chisel finish. He carved a drain channel at the base of the leaf beside the stem, so rainwater will not pool inside. The sculpture is very comfortable to recline in and the cool marble feels good against hot skin. An added, unexpected bonus is that in profile, the sculpture looks like a white dove with its head down and tail up!
Binkley says of the project, “I was honoured and blessed to have contributed to the memories of Jack and Margaret Millar, through sculpting the Breadfruit Leaf sculpture. This truly remarkable couple who left behind a legacy filled with beauty, promise, and hope; the Millars were of great service to the local community and its people. Their energy is very apparent at Napili Kai Beach Resort, as the staff and fellow visitors exude such warmth. It is a magical place, where the surf meets the sand, sea turtles introduce themselves and a warm Hawaiian sun watches over you.”