For The Modern Hotel above grand staircase.
“The piece combines two figures, one who is floating up and being elevated towards the sky by Hawaiian “mana” or spirit and the same female figure in the fetal position. The poses of the two figures were inspired by modern dance, with the graceful hand positioning, grace of the figures, and chiaroscuro lighting (strong contrast of light and darks) give a slight traditional renaissance feel.
The fetal position represents themes of birth/rebirth, with all the limbs closed, covering, and protecting an already hidden face. This strongly contrasts with the top figure who is completely exposed with her body and limbs in a position of openness. This duality goes with themes of much of my work that deal with the contrast of ancient vs. modern-day Hawaii. I do not think that change and modernization reflect a ‘death’ of tradition, but rather a rebirth into the future that creates amazing hybrids of culture. With modern technology, ease of travel, and instant access and trade of information (like the Internet and social media) Hawaii has transformed from an island into a hub. Our melting pot of different people, traditions, and art, have made Hawaii into one of the most unique places in the world that is not only known for its natural beauty but also its modern urban cultures.
I kept the background pretty simple with light washes and drips which add to the vertical nature of the piece and the image of the “open” figure floating up towards the ceiling, with mostly clean white color that will match the decor of the rest of the hotel. One of the few hints of color in the piece is the flower worn in her ear, which not only draws the eye towards the two contrasting faces of the figures, but also gives a touch of traditional Hawaii. The flower is worn on the left ear of the female which means that she is taken (as it sits above her heart) and is the color purple. Purple is a color that comes from mixing red and blue, two primary colors, and again hints at Hawaii’s mixing of cultures. The purple hibiscus represents this very same thing in the award-winning book that goes by that name, in which it represents not only “hybridity and combination of culture, but the hope for a brighter future.”