Keola Cayabyab (he/him) was born and raised on the island of Kauaʻi, but has Native Hawaiian familial ties going back to the early migration to Kōhala on Hawai’i island. On his mother’s side, the family moved to Hawaiʻi from Manila, Philippines in the 1980s. In the 7th grade, Keola traveled to Oʻahu to attend Kamehameha Schools Kāplama as a boarding student. Shortly after graduating high school, he traveled to Portland, Oregon to pursue a degree in graphic design.
“Growing up in Hawaiʻi, I have never experienced changing seasons. During my first year of college in Oregon, I was amazed to see leaves falling off the trees during Fall. Then once winter came along, I was freaking out at the sight of snow. That is where I got the idea for these posters. I wanted to portray the seasons in a non-traditional way by not showcasing the elements. For places like Hawaiʻi that lack that seasonal change, I utilized illustrations of native Hawaiian plants and correlating colors that would best represent each season.“
Initially pulled in by the bright colors and bold traditional motifs within these graphic design works, we selected these pieces also because of the sentiment behind them. Cayabyab, living in Oregon during his college experience, was taken aback by the expression of seasons throughout the year — something those in Hawaiʻi do not have in the same sense. This is something we as curators also experienced during our transition in the Pacific Northwest and felt was an important adjustment to highlight in the show.