Barack Obama Luminary Lamp

President-elect Barack Obama inspired a Windward Oahu artist to create a special lamp. Mark Chai made this lamp in his studio on Kailua Beach. He got the idea of making a luminary for Obama's inauguration because, he said, the President-elect represents the light of hope.

Chai showed it to his neighbor, Dr. Debbie Buccigrossi, who's going to the inauguration. She's now taking some of them with her to give to Obama. Chair recounted, "As I showed it to her, she was ecstatic. 'Oh my God, that's Barack Obama, I can't believe you did that,' she said."

Chai said he hopes Obama will see it "and know how much he inspires all of us."

This is just one of two designs Chai made. The luminaries seen in this story are hand-cut from cardstock paper with Obama's profile and the inauguration date, 1-20-09. They come with an LED "candle" or you can place a votive candle inside. They are mementos for Chai's friends and Obama's family, and are not for sale now.

However, Obama fans can buy a limited edition table lamp, hand-cut from Hawaii recycled plastic and a koa wood base. Each has a compact fluorescent bulb and measures 15" high, 13" across at the top, and depth at the base is 5". Only 10 will be made. The lamps are selling for $1000 each.

Mark Chai burst onto the Hawaii arts scene over a decade ago, carving a niche as an artist who used recycled materials.