Kia Takamori-Tihada (she/her) calls Maui, Hawaiʻi home. She earned her BFA at PNCA in Portland, Oregon, in 2020.
“This is my thesis work from undergrad (Spring 2020). It is about my disconnection and reconnection to the ocean and home (Maui, Hawaiʻi). This project involved some rediscovering of where I am from, the importance of the place I am from, and who helped make my experience what it is while living back home in Hawaiʻi. I made some works that retell the memories/experiences I have lived through, collaborating with some of my family members who still live there. When I say collaboration this stems from conversation and talking story to actually making the work with me.
While I am farther from the ocean now, I will not forget what it was like living so close to the sea. I will not take for granted how much the ocean has provided for me, from being a food source to just being a place to gather at. I love this ocean, I wish I understood the importance of this big beauty before I left home.”
With this series of cyanotypes, we were first drawn in by the aesthetic quality of the way the ocean was represented in each image, in addition to their experimental nature. After discovering more about the story behind the works, how they were made directly with oceans in both Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Northwest, and the element of collaboration between the artist and her family back home, we saw many connections to the themes highlighted within our exhibition as a whole. Furthermore, in Native Hawaiian culture, the ocean is not seen as a barrier or separation, but instead as a way of linking many otherwise disparate cultures and communities, and Takamori-Tihada’s works are a testament to this notion.