Kaninau Villanueva (she/her) is a Kanaka ʻŌiwi artist from Kīlauea Kauaʻi. Kaninau attended the Pacific Northwest College of Art graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking and a thesis focusing on radical slowness and indigenous healing. After this she returned to her One Hānau and began a new journey in reconnecting with her ancestral values of Mālama and Aloha ʻĀina. She is also studying native Hawaiian ferns for forest restoration and works part time as a steward and educator of Kāhili Beach Preserve with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. Kaninau strives to bridge her research and her art together as they are both avenues for re-indigenization. Her works range from canvas, sculptural and even functional pieces by using various media such as gouache, ink, as well as traditional ʻŌiwi ethnobotanical resources. Kaninau’s work continues to focus on Kānaka ʻŌiwi healing that is inspired by moʻolelo, moʻokūʻauhau, traditional values of reciprocity, as well as her own community.
He Ola Nō
Video reading of book, 2020.
This book was written and printed in Portland, Oregon, where we all met at the same college. At the time, all of us were facing strong feelings of displacement and challenges as we tried to adapt to a new environment away from Hawaiʻi. Kaninau’s book speaks to the immense physical, emotional, and spiritual pain this displacement brought in her experience. However, we chose to include it also because of the resilience these words embody through the remembering of a traditional chant that allowed her to find comfort and guidance in her time apart from home.