Sculpting History: How ‘Reflections in Stone and Bronze’ Captures Hawaii’s Past

“Reflections in Stone and Bronze” is a book that offers a unique perspective on Hawaii’s history and culture through the examination of statues across the islands. The book explores sixty historical figures, each represented by a statue, and delves into their connections to Hawaii’s history and culture. The book categorizes these figures into four groups: royal, religious & spiritual, music & entertainment, and national & international figures.

The central theme of the book is to understand how the values and accomplishments of these figures are memorialized in stone and bronze. It provides an insightful look at statues that hold significance to Oahu’s legacy, making each statue a portal into Hawaii’s rich history and traditions​. The photographs in “Reflections in Stone and Bronze” were taken by Renea Gavrilov Stewart. Her work beautifully captures the essence of the sixty statues featured in the book, each set against various settings throughout Oahu. This adds a visual depth to Cheryl D. Soon’s exploration of these historical figures and their significance in Hawaiian culture​​.


“Reflections in Stone and Bronze” is a compelling and insightful exploration of Hawaii’s rich history and culture, as viewed through the unique lens of the island’s statues. Author Cheryl D. Soon masterfully intertwines the stories of sixty historical figures with the history of Hawaii, bringing to life their contributions and the way they are remembered through these enduring monuments.

The book is an impressive blend of historical research, cultural analysis, and storytelling. Each chapter delves into the life and legacy of a different figure, categorized into realms such as royalty, spiritual leaders, entertainers, and influential figures on both a national and international stage. What stands out is how Soon not only presents historical facts but also delves into the deeper meanings and cultural significance of these statues, offering a richer understanding of Hawaiian heritage.

Soon’s background in city planning and her deep connection to Hawaii enrich the narrative, lending an authenticity and depth that is both educational and engaging. Her storytelling is vivid and evocative, making each historical figure come alive, as if stepping right out of the stone and bronze. This approach transforms the book from a mere historical recount into a journey through time and place.

The book also touches on contemporary debates about public monuments, adding a layer of relevance to today’s discussions on representation and historical memory. It’s a timely reminder of the power of statues not just as art forms but as storytelling mediums, capable of both reflecting and shaping our understanding of history.

In conclusion, “Reflections in Stone and Bronze” is more than just a historical account; it is a journey through the heart and soul of Hawaii. It is a must-read for anyone interested in Hawaiian history, culture, and the arts, offering a unique perspective that is both enlightening and deeply moving.

Cheryl D. Soon

Cheryl D. Soon, the author of “Reflections in Stone and Bronze,” holds a Ph.D and is a Fellow in the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP), which is the highest honor available for a professional planner. She is recognized for her unique and well-researched approach to storytelling, offering readers historical insights and a deeper understanding of island communities.

Professionally, Cheryl has had a significant impact on Hawaii’s public agencies. She served as the Director of the Department of Transportation Services and the Chief Planning Officer for the City & County of Honolulu. She was also the Deputy Director for Highways at the State of Hawaii’s Department of Transportation and the Executive Director of the Oʻahu Metropolitan Planning Organization. In the private sector, she held senior management positions in major Island planning firms, where her work as a project manager won several awards​​​​.

Renea Gavrilov Stewart

Renea Gavrilov Stewart is a seasoned professional in the television production industry, known for her expertise and passion for storytelling in various mediums including television, film, and documentary production. She has worked for over a decade in this field, showcasing her skills and dedication to her craft.

Stewart is also a co-owner and producing partner at Rock Salt Media, Inc., where she collaborates with Heather Haunani Giugni. Together, they bring decades of experience in producing both live events and pre-produced programs, with a focus on customizing each project to meet specific needs. Their work involves production, direction, writing, and consulting, leveraging a talented team to achieve their project goals.

Furthermore, Renea Gavrilov Stewart has been involved in notable projects such as “Family Ingredients,” a Co-Executive Production of PBS Hawai’i and Pacific Islanders in Communications, where she served as a producer and cinematographer. She is also recognized for her work in the TV series “Reel Wahine of Hawai’i” (2018) and “Family Ingredients” (2016). Her commitment to preserving Hawai‘i’s culture and traditions is evident in her work, as she strives to achieve the best possible product in her productions​​​​​​​​​​.


“Reflections in Stone and Bronze” is an ideal read for a diverse range of individuals who share a curiosity and appreciation for history, culture, and the art of storytelling. The book will particularly resonate with those who have an affinity for Hawaii, whether as residents, descendants, or enthusiasts of its rich heritage and traditions. It provides a unique and detailed perspective on the islands’ history, making it a treasure trove for historians and cultural scholars seeking a deeper understanding of Hawaii’s past.

Art and architecture enthusiasts will also find the book captivating, as it delves into the significance and stories behind various statues, offering a visual journey through the lens of sculpture. Additionally, the book’s exploration of how public monuments shape our perception of history makes it relevant for educators and students in fields like cultural studies, sociology, and anthropology.

Travelers and tourists interested in more than just the scenic beauty of Hawaii will find this book enriching, as it uncovers the stories and significance behind familiar landmarks, enhancing their travel experience. It’s also a meaningful read for anyone engaged in current discussions about public memorials and the representation of history, providing context and insight into how societies remember and honor their past.

In essence, “Reflections in Stone and Bronze” is for anyone who seeks to connect with Hawaii on a deeper level, through the stories and legacies enshrined in its statues. It’s a book that offers both education and enlightenment, wrapped in the engaging narrative of Hawaii’s diverse and dynamic history.

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