As always, I start with an under painting or a background painting.
This is the back side of a gel skin image of the hala (pandanus or screw pine) tree. It was the only shelter Damien had his first few weeks at the peninsula. He slept under it at night. Here, I am painting and adding color to the image as it will show through from the back. Additional painting is done on the flip side too.
The significance of including this tree with the young girls is that the children that were sent to the Kalaupapa Peninsula were torn from their families. They were young and vulnerable and fell prey to the older and stronger adults there. Not long after he arrived, he soon brought law and order to the population and essentially, became the parent and guardian to these abandoned children. I cannot even begin to imagine how a parent would've felt having their 6 year old child taken from them and banished to the peninsula, let alone how the child would've felt.
He formed a girl's choir which became very popular with the residents. And, over time, he built a home for the boys and a home for the girls; giving them the shelter and protection that they needed.