Friday, September 1, 2023 - 6:00pm to Wednesday, November 22, 2023 - 4:00pm
September 1st - November 22nd, 2023
Nanea Lum, Mahina Choy-Ellis, Ciara Leina‘ala Lacy, Allison Leialoha Milham, Dr. Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, Kumu Pōlani Kahakalau-Kalima Hālau Hula Kauluola.
Curated by Kanani Daley
Ke kau mai nei ka haili aloha… Haili Moe
The loving memory returns… in a premonition.
One of the qualities of Hawaiian spirituality is its embodied practice of ancestral knowledge. Hawaiians believe that their ancestors live within the natural elements as conscious sentient forms and are inextricably connected with humanity. Hawaiians embody these spiritual forms through oli (chant), hula (dance), and aloha ‘āina (deeply and actively caring for the land). Mo‘olelo (ancestral stories) are carried forth through these practices and unite Hawaiians to their genealogy, to the natural and spiritual world, and to one another. The continued teaching of these practices is the sustaining foundation for Hawaiian culture.
Kānaka believe that learning happens through feeling. With the practice of acting upon that feeling with oli, hula, aloha ‘āina, and the Hawaiian healing arts, one can develop ʻike kūhohonu (deep knowledge). This knowledge is expressed by their pilina (intimacy/relationship) with ‘āina, wai (waters), their ancestors, and each other, and is the viable power necessary to grow healthy communities.
Between 1820-1893, and throughout the territorial period, 1900-1959, these Hawaiian practices were aggressively replaced with an American education system and a monotheistic religious system intended to extinguish the existing polytheistic beliefs. The native people were trained to be a passive workforce, as colonizers seized the land for profitability.
The Hawaiian renaissance began in 1970. Still in 2023, we, as Kānaka Maoli, are constantly urged to forget, as we contend with the repercussions of the past: a capitalist economy sustained by tourism; the erasure of our native language and ecological diversity; the introduction of fatal diseases, poverty and substance addiction; inaccessible land and housing impacted by blood quantum restrictions; the impossible housing market only affordable to the wealthy; etc.
However, I urge you, do not forget who you are. This exhibition is a kahea (call) to Kānaka, to reclaim a clear and strong self-identity. This call is also to those who are wondering where their place is and if they belong here in Hawai‘i. If you’ve made Hawai‘i home, can we, together, perpetuate a diverse culture; participating in the healing of wounded generations of Hawaii’s indigenous people; and contributing to the health of the generations who will come after us?
This exhibition was made possible by donations from Takamine Construction Inc., KTA Super Stores, Lapid Family Foundation, Joseph Morris and Jilian Liu, & McInerny Foundation, Bank of Hawai‘i Trustee.