Mo'olelo series is Hawaiian narratives, both traditional and contemporary, put to the surface of wheel thrown and sculpted forms, which are heavily influenced by Western cultures both ancient and modern. The intent of this body is to continue a conversation that was initiated by Europe's avant-garde artists of the early 20th century. Curios collected from across the globe (Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania) influenced many of the styles and techniques produced at that time. As a Polynesian artist I thought it necessary to add my voice to the cultural exchange.
The gourd form is a valued vessel in Hawaiian culture as is evident by the intricate geometric designs Hawaiians used to adorn their gourds. Used to hold water, sacred possessions or mundane materials, the gourd appears throughout Hawaiian mythology as a sacred tool. Much like the ancient Greeks, I etched the oral traditions of Hawaiian folklore onto the gourd forms to elevate the importance of both form and subject matter.
Hawaiian oral tradition is filled with its heroes, villains, tricksters and demigods. Some stories are common throughout the Pacific while others are traced back to family ancestors who performed heroic feats. Putting these stories to pottery presented me with an unforeseen challenge, Greek artists would have confronted this predicament as well. How do you portray an epic in one frame?