PŌHAKU - the Second Collection
Tonight’s collection is titled “PŌHAKU” or rock. It was shown at the MAMo Wearable Art Show in Honolulu and has since evolved. In the words of Maui’s Kālai Pōhaku, or Master Stone Carver, Uncle Hoaka Delos Reyes, “you give pōhaku life, he gives life back.”
The collection is inspired by the essence of pōhaku and their life sustaining power. Each pōhaku has a home and a story to tell. They outlast time and are our past, present and future. Our kūpuna, our people, we are a people of the ‘āina, of the land. But it has also been said that they, that we, are rock people.
Life, creation, began in darkness with slime. As creation unfolded and our environment took shape, the beginning foundation hardened into rock, ua ho‘opōhaku. Pōhaku are the foundation of our honua, our ‘āina, our kuahiwi, our streambeds, our mineral-rich earth that heals and sustains the body. They are our kahakai where the ‘ili‘ili clatter in the ocean’s tide.
In traditional Hawaiian life, pōhaku were an essential tool and building material that shaped and molded Hawaiian cultural practices and society. Pōhaku were used for birthing children, for preparing food, for fashioning tools, for making kapa, for building walls of the heiau, of the loko i‘a and of the lo‘i.
Pōhaku are life and pōhaku can also be death - but in a way that anews the life cycle, not in a way of finality. The lava that pours from Kilauea’s vents brings death but it also brings new ‘āina, new life. So it is with the words of Kaulana Nā Pua, a mele written in 1893 in response to the overthrow of our Queen. In those words we also have new life, new hope. “Ua lawa mākou i ka pōhaku. I ka ‘ai kamaha‘o o ka ‘āina.“ The rocks are enough for us. The astonishing food of the land.