Hahai (hunting), food production, fleshy compositions

photo:Nanea Lum, 2014, Goat Leg.

photo:Nanea Lum, 2014, Goat Leg.

These photo's are my resource photographs that document the harvesting of meat from free range goat thriving up mauka on the west of 'Oahu. The compositions captured of the particular animal are fresh context to examine a body and the food that its life produced. The hunt for this animal was done for subsistence food. Living off the land is not a hobby, but a lifestyle. The choice to collect ones own food through hard labor is an ethical choice and a human right that is a choice every person should consciously make.

A hunter in Hawaii needs to apply for a hunters license in order to harvest animals legally. The Hawaii state department of land and natural resources enforce rules on state land property as well as on public hunting grounds. The rules spell out what is acceptable hunting practice, and the places where one is permitted to hunt. The number of mammals a hunter is allowed to harvest is limited by the DLNR's regulation of bags, tags, stamps, and the amount of hours hunters are allowed in the field. Taking care of Hawaii's natural resources was a philosophy built into the Hawaiian culture through genealogy, and a self-awareness that conceives of the environment as interrelated biologically as well as spiritually.

Photo: Nanea Lum, 2014 Goat Meat

Photo: Nanea Lum, 2014 Goat Meat

There are many lenses by which to look at a these documentary photos. Anatomical drawings and figure paintings have strict compositional guidelines, while in these photos, the body is still the subject, but without the armature of its anatomical structure. I was moved and fascinated by the transformation of the body through death and consumption. What I perceived, is not something that I could dismiss, the transformation of a body into meat, is a human act which creates an object, from life itself. I drew on paper, the flesh's muscular anatomy, the proportional reproduction of muscle and tendons. I began to see the meat, not only as an object, but as a portal. Watching the flesh turn color as it oxidized and aged, began the idea; or the search to look deep into our food systems and gain a deeper knowledge about the proper or pono way gather and grow food in Hawaii. 

Mammals have a peaceful yet complex living system, they reproduce live young, and over time have been domesticated to require human interaction. The evolution of animal species tells us that form (genetic mutations) is compulsory of environmental conditions and time. The way that we look at domesticated mammals,as pets, as food, as pests, is not the only way that the animal exists.

Looking at the documentary photos and drawings of meat, a composition of flesh emerged. In Hawaiian idea, Puka is the word that describes the phenomena of emergence. Emergence is the term I use when a concept becomes relative to its independence from an artist or a collective of artists. 

Photo: Nanea Lum, 2014, In progress painting  Loa'a

Photo: Nanea Lum, 2014, In progress painting Loa'a