By Nadine Kam
Storyteller/performer Moses Goods opened the Maoli Arts Month 10th annual Wearable Art Show on May 18 at Hawaii Theatre with his tale of Maui "making plants fly" by shaping them into a lupe, or kite, reflecting the ingenuity of the demigod and the Hawaiian people, who, from humble materials, were able to create, clothe, house and feed themselves.
It was a tale befitting the show dedicated to showcasing the creativity of Native Hawaiian and Pacific designers, artists and cultural practitioners.
The show is one of the highlight events of a month that includes a film festival, storytelling festival and art exhibition.
With the click of 'ili 'ili and pahu rhythms with the speed of a heartbeat, Maui-based designer and educator Anna Kahalekulu, a first-timer to the Oahu show, was the first to present. Her show was focused on the pohaku, or stones considered to be one of the people's life-sustaining forces.
Her fabrics dyed with plant materials and alaea reflected the multi-colors and textures of stones from mountain to sea.
The show was tamer than last year's event, when many an artist made a political statement regarding the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea.
The show featured the return of Lufi Luteru, Wahine Toa, Maile Andrade and Marques Marzan. Maori designer Hone Bailey was there representing Aotearoa, or New Zealand.
With co-host and show director Robert Uluwehi Cazimero feeling under the weather, there wasn't as much of the comedic banter between him and producer emcee Vicky Holt Takamine as usual, but enough to add lightness and laughter to the evening.
Unfortunately, maybe I was laughing a little too hard regarding their tale of a missing connection at the airport due to confusion over Kauai designer Lavena Kehaulani Kekua's full name, which hadn't been included on the ticket.
Adding a double whammy to her day, I must have hit the stop button on my video camera, so her show isn't included as one of the videos below. It was a beautiful show of bold, handpainted scarves. All I can say is, "Sorry" and "Come back next year!"
And the same goes for the audience. Even at its most sedate, this is still one of the most lively shows in town.
Following the show, there was an after-party and trunk show where some girl snagged Kahalekulu's sleeveless yellow silk jacket I wanted.
And, as a testament to Wahine Toa's and designer Nita Pilago's popularity, there was a line at a private entrance for her work.
Another show will take place June 25 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Call (808) 242-2787 for more information. Featured will be the work of Maile Andrade, Marques Marzan, Wahine Toa, Koa Johnson, Anna Kahalekulu, Elisha Clemons and Kehau Kekua.
Here are the shows, in order of presentation:
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her fashion coverage in print in Saturday's Today section. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.