Kaho’olawe has been used to train military personel for air and sea attacks, as well as for marine landings from 1941 – 1990. All types of bombs and missiles were air dropped onto the hills and beaches of Kaho'olawe, permanetly changing the landscape. In 1965, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission tested the blast effect of an atomic weapon on Navy ships by detonating 500 tons of TNT on the coastline. The scars left my military use of Kaho’olawe are permanent reminders of American misuse of land and imperialistic destruction of Hawaiian natural resources.
This paintingʻs title means absorbtion. Biologocally, the body uses the the smal intestine to absorb nutrience from ingested food. Finger like vili and mico vili project from the inside mucosa of the intestine and absorb nutrience for healthy blood vessels. Externaly, this process is repeated on a maco level through dynamic relationships between bodies and their enviroment. On Kahoolawe, the sun rose and consciousness awoke. The simple biology was more powerful than ever witnessed. The digging and scratching and devouring of tiny organisms, became the familiar part of consciousness in every experience after that.
The oil painting and process that I entitled Kemu is about the absorption of experiential memory that processes through the mind into a consciousness of earth. Kula is an oil paintings that is about a field of mice that devoured a grassy hill all through the night on Kaho’olawe. Kula in Hawaiian means field, plain, or pasture, and it also means school, or academy. My community service group and I were chanting; E ala e, a chant in Hawaiian that greets the rising sun to devote a group working together. The infestation of field mice was a coincidence that lives in my memories as an awakening of myself within the landscape of Hawaii. The foreign bodies that erode Kaho’olawe represent modern pollution, and the environmental crisis that the whole world is facing. The sacredness and specialness of Kahoolawe, to the Hawaiian god Kanaloa, and a wahi pana to the people of Hawaii preserves the island from erosion for now.
Wahi pana: Cultural sites of spiritual and geological significance. Sacred places that are cultural and geological land markers.