Three original 18×24″ ink drawings on vellum inspired by ancient Hawaiian artifacts for the 2023 Umbrella Art Fair. 

Artist Statement –
The Koehana series is an expression of my journey to connect with my identity as ʻōiwi. As a native Hawaiian in diaspora a great deal of my experience with my culture has been through a colonizer’s lens. These objects have a deep and significant origin but, like my identity, they have been tokenized, enshrined and put on display out of context. Passed from hand to hand and filtered over and over so that I cannot trace their history clearly. 

This body of work acts as a recontextualization – objects reassembled line by line to form a new kind of koehana, or artifact. One in which their moʻolelo is established and I can see myself within. That despite their tenuous and fragile connection, they relate nonetheless the long lineage of my people that has until now remained scattered and obscured.”

EVENT: Umbrella Art Fair
LOCATION: Washington, D.C.
RELEASE: November 2023

Makau –
The makau, fishhook, held great practical as well as cultural significance to ancient Hawaiians. Fishhooks were an invaluable tool that provided food for the ohana and were the result of at least one thousand years of Hawaiian development and refinement. Fishhooks were prize possessions and craftsman produced a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials such as wood, pearl, turtle shell, whalebone, human bone and more.
Lei niho palaoa –
An important symbol of rank for the highest Ali‘i was the lei niho palaoa, a whale tooth pendant. The carved hook pendant is strung on thousands of finely braided strands of human hair. These significant lei were worn by Ali‘i of both genders. These whale teeth were collected from carcass that would wash ashore at specific wahi pana (sacred places) on the islands.
Newa –
A short war club wielded by ancient Hawaiian warriors consisting of a stone bludgeon and wood handle joined by plated coconut cord. It could be hung on the wrist for use during close combat or tied to a longer cord for throwing and tripping.

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