R.I.S.E. Indigenous Art + Poetry Fellowship

I am very excited to share that I’ve been selected as the lead recipient for R.I.S.E.’s (Radical Indigeonus Survivance and Empowerment) Annual Art + Poetry Fellowships. This unrestricted award will allow me to purchase material to carve wooden beaters for when I begin my journey into kapa-making later this month, in addition to supporting my travel costs while I am back home. This rad organization was founded by Diné writer/artist Demian DinéYazhi, and does amazing work to create opportunities and platforms for Indigenous artists to share and create their work. For more information or to keep up with their current projects and initiatives, follow their Instagram @riseindigenous. Thank you so much, mahalo nui loa for your support of my work and practice!!

I’d also like to acknowledge the other fellows, Arielle Twist and Regan de Loggans — two Indigenous non-binary creatives who are making waves in their own communities. I can’t wait to see what’s next on our horizons :)

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PLAYA Artist Residency - August/September 2019

A couple days ago I returned from an artist residency at PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon. This amazing residency program is located in the high desert of southeast Oregon, overlooking a seasonal lake or lakebed, depending on time of year.

I wasn’t sure of what to expect, and not exactly sure of what I’d be making on when I arrived. But soon, I resolved to make a new kihei (ornamental cloth garment of personal and spiritual significance in Hawaiian culture) using new ‘ohe kāpala that I designed and carved there at PLAYA. These stamps and the resulting new kihei would tell the story of the ongoing events at Mauna Kea, the Kū Kia’i Mauna movement, and the controversy surrounding the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Not only did I complete this task and create a new piece, but I also did some plein air painting in ink and oil, designed and worked on earrings for a new wearable kāpala earring collection, collected and ground up earth pigments from the surrounding environment, made amazingly beautiful and talented friends along the way, and discovered a new sense of clarity around my creative practice.

Thank you endlessly to PLAYA, their staff, the land of the Modoc and Klamath tribes on which this program takes place, and my lovely cohort with whom I was lucky enough to share in this experience with.

I’ll be back :)

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Tualatin Stormdrain Sidewalk Mural Project

This summer, I painted my first mural at Ibach Park in Tualatin! This project was a collaboration between the City of Tualatin and the Tualatin Riverkeepers to raise awareness about stormdrains and their direct connection to river health.

It reads, “Ho’okahe I Ka Muliwai O Tualatin,” which means “Drains to Tualatin River,” in ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i. I chose to depict Upper River Steelhead and Western Pond Turtles swimming in a sea of patterns, referencing threatened species in the watershed and my background as a ‘ohe kāpala/pattern maker. The cedar represents the water cycle on land, and the rainbow cresting into the drain represents the fluid link between our skies and waterways.

I had a lot of fun with this project and hope it continues to spread awareness about the importance of river health. Plus, it’s always a privilege to represent Kānaka Maoli!

Check out the new mural at Ibach Park in Tualatin — find it near the baseball field and the roundabout :)

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Detail of the finished mural

Detail of the finished mural

Meet the Artist event at the mural site with members of the community

Meet the Artist event at the mural site with members of the community

NEW INSTALLATION : ' Until We Meet Again '

The artist wearing the personal ‘ahu garment

The artist wearing the personal ‘ahu garment

Up through the month of August I will have a new installation at Blackfish Gallery in Portland, Oregon. This body of work features a gilded insect-eaten log, a collection of historical photographs from various Hawaiian cultural archives, 100 paper cranes, a family heirloom silk kimono, and a hand-stitched wearable ‘ahu garment.

If you have a moment to visit the gallery, please read the artist statement and the annotated list of materials — it contains important information about the piece and each of the materials involved in its making.

Mahalo!

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Closing Reception at Fuller Rosen -- THANK YOU!!

To all those who came out to the closing reception of “A Thirst For Saltwater” or supported this show in one way or another — mahalo nui, thank you!! This body of work has truly brought me life through the conversations and connections I’ve formed over the past few weeks it has been up. In addition, through many individual donations through the gilded oyster fundraiser project, we’ve managed to raise several hundred dollars to support Dig Deep Water’s water equity initiative at Navajo Mountain, UT. I am so humbled and overwhelmed by the response to this show and this fundraiser. In Hawaiian culture, we have a proverb: “ ‘A’ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia / No task is too great when shared by all ” — I think this rings true here as well.

Mahalo, take care,

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A Fundraiser For Dig Deep Water !!

Installation view of  A Pit in the Stomach . Image courtesy of Ryan Patrick Krueger.

Installation view of A Pit in the Stomach. Image courtesy of Ryan Patrick Krueger.

With my installation, A Pit in the Stomach, currently up at Fuller Rosen Gallery in Portland, I am selling the gilded oysters in order to raise funds for Dig Deep Water. This organization is a community-managed utility alternative consisting of in-home water systems, the building and maintenance of new wells, water delivery trucks, and more. So far since the opening of the show and the beginning of this fundraiser, we have already raised nearly $300! That’s enough to fund the purchase of a solar panel for a home plumbing system, or water delivery for a family of four for over 5 months!

This is just one example of how a community of individuals can make a difference as a collective whole.

For donations of $5 or more, I will send you an oyster as a reminder of our collective responsibility in working to either heal or worsen these issues. 100% of proceeds will go to benefit these communities.

To donate and receive an oyster, please visit the Fuller Rosen Gallery online Shop page or at their gallery space in SE Portland. More information about Dig Deep Water and their work to increase water access and equity in Navajo Mountain, UT and elsewhere, read here.

Thank you!!

"A Thirst For Saltwater." -- OUT NOW!

I’m so excited to announce the release of my first gallery publication, “A Thirst For Saltwater.” This artist book details my experiences last October during my residency in the Southwest US with Signal Fire Arts. It is a wandering, small collection of personal anecdotes, informative writings, plein air sketches, and photographic conversations and dichotomies.

You can pick up a * SPECIAL * limited edition signed copy at the opening of the show at Fuller Rosen Gallery THIS Saturday, May 25, from 6-9pm — or you may also find it on the gallery website here :)

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Mahalo nui, thank you ~

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About a week ago, my show at the Alice Gallery in Seattle came to a close, marked by a special reception with readings by Indigenous artists and writers sharing a wide variety of works. This show has taught me so much about the power of Indigenous community and resilience, and I am so excited and humbled to see the ripples of these experiences spread further and further. Mahalo to the Alice Gallery without whom this show would not have the space to exist; to Yehaw for organizing this collaboration and opportunity to highlight my work; and all of the artists, community members, elders, and friends who came out to see this show, shared words and space, and otherwise supported this work.

"A Gift, A Breath," at The Alice Gallery

This Saturday, my solo show “A Gift, A Breath” opened at The Alice Gallery in Seattle. Some of these works have been in the process for a year, one of them for two, and yet another is only about a week old. Regardless of how much time I have spent with each piece, however, each is very dear to me and addresses the idea of reciprocity in relationships, and the custom of offering ho’okupu in Hawaiian culture.

The show will be up for the month of April, and I will be at the reception and Art Attack night on April 13th from 6-9pm. If you’re in the area, come through :)

I’m so thankful for yəhaw̓ and the Alice Gallery for coming together to make this happen and provide the space for these works to be shown. I am very excited and blessed to be able to make this work and share it with others.

More info about the show at the link in the sidebar. Below, some midnight installation shots from the night prior to opening day. XX

Opening of yəhaw̓ at King Street Station!

Over the course of the last several weeks, I have been working on a mixed-media piece to be exhibited in a group show with over 200 Indigenous artists in Seattle. This show is the culmination of a year-long series of workshops, readings, shows, residencies, and events that aimed to highlight the diversity and strength of the many artists, makers, writers, and artisans in the Northwest. The theme of yəhaw̓, is the word itself, a word used to lift the sky when Creator has left it too low. In other words, this show focuses on community strength, and building resilience in ourselves and each other in hopes of a more positive walk forward.

The piece I am contributing grew out of my experiences in the Southwest in October of last year, when I backpacked through the ancestral homelands of Pueblo, Zuni, Hopi, Dine, and many other groups. I learned of the many environmental issues these contemporary Indigenous communities face, primarily those related to fossil fuel extraction and uranium mining interests. I learned how these destructive forces impact Native bodies, bodies of water, bodies of land, and couldn’t help but see the similarities between Indigenous groups elsewhere and the threats they face.

After seeing these impacts firsthand, and considering how capitalist and extractive interests affect my own Native Hawaiian communities, I began to really understand just how much is at stake for Indigenous ancestral homelands. This painting begins to address these issues, posing questions of what will ultimately happen in these landscapes, and how will Native communities survive and see continued resilience while their homelands and waters are at risk.

The group show opens March 23rd at King Street Station in Seattle, and more information regarding events on the opening day can be found here. Until then… here is a sneak peak of the mixed-media work on paper in the meantime :)

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yəhaw̓ + Centrum Foundation Residency, January 2019

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend an all-Indigenous artist residency with the Centrum Foundation in Port Townsend, WA as part of the Yəhaw̓ Show. This satellite residency, part of a collaborative year-long project featuring the work of over 200 Indigenous creatives, allowed me to start my year off with my mind and heart full.

For a week I got to spend time with four other rad young Native makers, and share space, time, ideas, words, and food. It was inspiring, to say the least, to be around others with a similar vision and dedication to their work. While it was so valuable to have the time and space to use to freely create, it was just as worth it (and almost more) to build community and continue to find my place here in the PNW.

Stay tuned for more about the culmination of yəhaw̓, and the work that came from my experience with Centrum! xx

Our cohort of Indigenous artists, Port Townsend, WA. Photo credit: Rebecca Cesspooch

Our cohort of Indigenous artists, Port Townsend, WA. Photo credit: Rebecca Cesspooch

A Long Overdue Update! ~ on Wilderness, Community, and Indigenous Solidarity

I’ve been very delinquent on updating this portion of my website, oops. Back in October of last year, I spent the month backpacking and camping throughout the SW high desert with Signal Fire, an organization that strives to connect creative individuals with wild spaces, public lands, and the ecological and cultural narratives that converge within those landscapes. Along with 10 other artists, I learned about the ecological diversity of these biomes, the resilience of those who have inhabited these territories for thousands of years, and the problems Indigenous communities today face due to extractive interests on Native lands.

One of our last nights in the backcountry. Snake Gulch, AZ.

As heart breaking as it was to see the devastating effects of mining, oil drilling, and uranium interests near or on Indigenous reservation lands firsthand, it was amazing and humbling to see the resilience and resolve of these communities to protect the lands they’ve walked for generations. As an Indigenous individual myself, I found a lot of strength in these communities and found it inspiring to see their determination for a more sustainable and just path forward.

Learning to make cordage with yucca as my teacher. Canyons of the Ancients, CO.

Learning to make cordage with yucca as my teacher. Canyons of the Ancients, CO.

The resulting cordage and raw materials collected throughout the duration of the trip. The yucca cordage (on the yellow bandana), contains dried dead yucca fibers from each of the four states I went to, the ancestral lands of the Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute, and Dinè peoples. The more refined cordage in my hands is made from the stripped outer stem layers of an unknown plant I collected near Montezuma, CO.

The resulting cordage and raw materials collected throughout the duration of the trip. The yucca cordage (on the yellow bandana), contains dried dead yucca fibers from each of the four states I went to, the ancestral lands of the Pueblo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute, and Dinè peoples. The more refined cordage in my hands is made from the stripped outer stem layers of an unknown plant I collected near Montezuma, CO.

Overall, this experience making in, thinking about, and moving through these landscapes was an immense fuel for my practice and continues to be. I have become increasingly interested in the environmental issues faced by other Indigenous communities across Turtle Island, and have begun a series of mixed-media paintings on the subject to reflect on my time spent in the southwest and speaking with Native elders there.

I highly recommend checking out Signal Fire’s website for more information on who they are, what they do, and their upcoming programming for 2019. They just released their list of residencies and wide open studios, more info here.

And, of course, this isn’t the end. To more good things in this next lunar year ~

(all images except last: credit Ryan Pierce, Signal Fire Arts)

Signal Fire: Wide Open Studios SW Immersion Trip, October 2018

For the month of October, I will be away on a backpacking trip with Signal Fire Arts — an organization dedicated to the hands-on exploration and appreciation of the intersection of arts and ecology. Over the course of the trip, I will be alongside other creatives from all over the US / world as we explore the Four Corners region in the SW United States and learn about pressing environmental issues, social/cultural responses to climate change, and Indigenous relationships between landscape and identity — and a whole lot more! I will return early November, and until then will be pretty much off-the-grid most of the time.

More about Signal Fire / Wide Open Studios here

I’m so grateful and excited for this amazing opportunity to further my practice, and can’t wait to see what lies ahead xx

(Canyons of the Ancients, photo cred: Michael Lerner)

(Canyons of the Ancients, photo cred: Michael Lerner)