November 22, 2023
With hindsight, and looking back, at the journey, I simply practice radical acceptance. In 2019 I felt a call, after a 7 year process of leaning into my motherʻs Slovenian lineage, to lean into my fatherʻs Hawaiian roots. My work, I realize, has been a very long journey home, and a lengthy decolonization process to embrace the authenticty of my identity as a Hawaiian. My father, as a small child, would tell his daughters, you are Hawaiian princesses, because your last name, comes from King Kalaniʻoʻpuʻu. The specificities of how this connection came to be, are lost, but the fact that one of my great Auntyʻs was a member of the Hale o Na Aliʻi, and after having stood before the cloak of this ancestor in the Bishop museum, I have embraced this story, as a what feels authentic and true.
I understand, why my journey needed to be in a place other than the pai ʻāina (pai aina), given the nature of the task I said yes to. Giving voice, and unmasking, through creative expression, the nature of multi-generational trauma, which included the Hawaiian genocide. These things arenʻt pretty emotions, or feelings, or stories, and the creative form asked for a contemporary container to express these incredibly challenging stories and textures.
While yes, I have many ancestors from different lands in my blood, I see the Hawaiian experience as the place from which this soulʻs journey is held. I have a sense that the Hawaiians, as great navigators, that intermarrying, and intermingling, this became a way of gathering ʻike and insight from many cultures.
I feel my ancestors sent me out, to adventure and experience the larger world, much as my grandfather did, but now, I feel as if I am being called home, to which, I say yes. I donʻt expect to be understood by Hawaiians as a contemporary Hawaiian artist, but that is not my intention, to fit in or be accepted. It is to be true to the integrity of the work itself and embrace my kuleana as a Hawaiian.
September 19th, 2022
I came across this bit of writing, and carry this foward, most of my ideas about creativity, and the arts, have been spoken, in intimate dialogs with other artists, noting common ground, noting curiosities. I set the intention to welcome this, or perhaps not... just let it go.
"ART AS A PEACEMAKING PROCESS.
When I get to the end of my life, and stand at death’s door, I don’t want to say I did that because someone else told me I should, or told me it was true, I want my decisions and observations to come from my own experiences. I don’t want to say I should uv and would uv if only I could uv.
This philosophy led me to embrace my life work as an artist.
Being honest with one’s calling as a creative being & profound sense of life work takes great courage. I believe it is the best thing we can do for the planet. Our world needs its artists active and engaged in these challenging times.
I head out to Santa Cruz Island with my beloved to recharge spiritually at least once a year. One summer day on a long hot hike to “Prisoner’s Bay” I was cogitating on war/peace and my role as an artist during a phase in my development where art was a container for my recovery from PTSD.
An image came to mind of the mass of humanity wearing masks with strings of connection attached to the underbelly of things - the Jungian shadow, a hell, a really nasty place. I saw a few within the group travel to this under belly to eat the refuse, digest it, and create beauty from it. The beauty was then reflected back to the masks. The reflection of their own selves in a digestible form caused the strings to be snipped away enabling the masks to be freer.
I gained a sense that everything that humanity shoves down under not wanting to deal with, or process, collects in the collective unconscious/subconscious. It gets blocked up from time to time - and then a manifestation of evil occurs where all of those things that humanity has hid away get flushed out.
The work becomes about being a refuse eater and spitting out diamonds with cathartic, shamanic energy which helps to heal this part of the human condition diffusing cataclysmic energy. Their work gives courage to others to own their own “boogie man” in an abstract, metaphorical, mythical place that feels safe. There is a letting go leaving the person viewing the art a little bit freer, healthier, inspired. This results in less refuse being flushed down the bowels of humanity to fester in the Jungian Shadow.
Art as a peacemaking process. Art as alchemically converting dark energy into light. As tough as it is to be an artist at times, I have to say, it is a great lifework!
I also came about a note, in a scrapbook, written by Kendy, which made me realize, as a dance maker, I was organizing as a permaculture community would organize. It must have been a Hawaiian thing."
Perspectives and books that have moved me:
Digesting the art in Paris in the 70s, that near year abroad
Attending Scuola Dimitri for summer workshops
Ticht Naht Hahn
The Elder Brothers: Kogi Indians
Shadow Dance: David Richo
The Soulʻs Code
Judith Herman: Trauma and Recovery