August 15, 2020, Kailua – Where there is kindness among people, there is hope for our human race, especially in these uncertain times. One such kind person is Leni Marie Acosta Knight, a petite, soft-spoken, unassuming lady who was still in her teens when she migrated with her family from the Philippines to join her dad in the United States. When she arrived in Hawaii, she attended school, then moved to Los Angeles, starting a career in commodities and real estate. She traveled extensively, especially in Europe where she had plans to settle in France. Except Fate had other plans for her. During a short vacation in Hawaii, she met her future ex-husband, had two children with him, and settled in for a life of a busy mom and wife.
Divorce brought her back to the mainland, picking up the pieces of her stalled business career. But, perhaps being away from the islands was not really the life meant for her, because after business deals went awry in Africa, she came back home to lick her wounds. “It’s hard to believe but I picked up the brush, one day six years ago,” Leni muses, in the breezy expanse of the Kahala home front yard she shares with life partner, D. G. Andy Anderson, erstwhile Hawaii politico, “and voila! a painting was born!” As a teen, Leni said she dabbled in the arts: writing articles and short stories, and pencil sketching. However, she did not take these activities as seriously as she did her interest in entrepreneurship. For the young Leni, there was nothing more thrilling than the art of the deal.
The many twists and turns in her life, however, led her to opt for the visual art form for self-expression. “I have combined symbolism, abstract expressionism, and classical realism to tell my story,” Leni explains further, sitting comfortably on a chair, one hot August afternoon, while her pit-bull terrier puppy was curiously eyeing my shoe. “Painting is the medium I am most comfortable with now. I am no longer encumbered by words; I just let the story flow with the brush. I feel a divine guidance that directs me when I paint. I honestly do not know where from or how (my) paintings evolve.”
This month, Leni decided to donate a piece she entitled, “Throughout Eternity” to ALSFH. “Throughout…” is an artist-enhanced limited edition 40×32” giclee, gallery-valued at $1,200, originally rendered in graphite and acrylic. Most of Leni’s pieces, it depicts a female image – mysterious, powerful, eloquent, lofty. But while the majority of her art is imbued with immensely bold and colorful palettes, this pieceis grudging on color, yet opulent in imagery and expansive in context: the better to create an infinite range of meaning for as many as there are viewers.
For this recent act of generosity, ALSFH is tremendously grateful to Leni, who is not new to sharing her art and her purse as she has gifting to worthy causes for 30 years. More recently, she has donated to and helped raise funds for the University of Hawaii-West Oahu Title IX Program and the Kapiolani Women and Children’s Hospital. She also has gifted to Freedom Writers and projects upholding art for children. For those interested in seeing her work and paintings, please visit www.leniknight.com. For a glimpse into another of her gifts and the process of developing the painting, check out http://Https://youtu.be/gLtnGqWs5f0
To Leni, a big mahalo from ALSFH and our Hawaii ALS community. May your distinct gesture of kindness beget more for our cause and other worthy projects for our ALS community.