Mana Moana: A Collective Regard
27 Oct 2015
Hawaiian artist Solomon Enos (Waianae, Oahu) and Māori artist Star Gossage (Ngāti Manuhiri, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Ruanui) are about to embark on a cultural exchange that will extend connections between Hawaiʻi and Aotearoa New Zealand, supported through the Creative New Zealand International Indigenous Artform Exchange.
They will undertake to delve into the idea of Mana Moana and how this kaupapa (project) might comprehend a collective regard for Mana Moana. The term 'Mana Moana' borrows from the contemporary Māori practice of acknowledging people from a specific location through whakapapa (genealogy) and their knowledge of that place. This practice recognises people as mana whenua – people who literally hold the tribal mana of a place. Enos and Gossage are invited to relate to their present-day settings as Mana Moana descendants whose blue Pacific waters encircle and constantly move between Aotearoa and Hawaiʻi.
It was Tongan scholar and philosopher Epeli Hau’ofa who prophesied that our collective future lies in ocean-based philosophy, strengthening our connection to each other, rather than looking to land-based thought systems that continue to divide and separate. This project magnifies this search for connections, questioning, seeking and looking at how visual artists, cultural practitioners and intellectuals awaken the Pacific by bringing forward new understandings of each other.
Gossage has a background in scriptwriting, theatre, poetry and acting and is a self-taught painter. She lives and works from her ancestral base at Pakiri Beach, north of Auckland. Her work explores an interiority that is intimate and powerfully instructive for its flight from fixed impressions of what is Māori art.
Enos, also a self taught painter works in multiple genres including science fiction (Polyfantastica) illustration, wall murals, painting and sculpture. He lives in the mountains of Oʻahu, Nuʻuanu, known to Hawaiians as wao akua, the realm of the gods. Enos was born and grew up on the Waianae Coast of Oʻahu, where the highest concentration of Hawaiians, still live on their homelands.
Native Hawaiian contemporary art advocate, Maile Meyer of Na Mea Hawaiʻi says: “for so long, the stories told have created a myth of separation, the water is our connectivity, we are family. This project, and all efforts around the mindset of Mana Moana will help us reclaim our ties to our Pacific ohana (family).
As Māori curator Ngahiraka Mason states; “This undertaking by Enos and Gossage proposes that Pacific Island peoples are deeply interested in the thoughts and ideas of each other and share a comparative nature…”
The artists will have simultaneous exhibition opening in Honolulu and Auckland from 8 March through to April 2016. The Auckland exhibition will be hosted by Tim Melville Gallery, Newton, Auckland, and Na Mea Hawaii, Honolulu. The exhibitions are timed for the largest gathering of Pacific peoples in Auckland at the Pasifika Festival from 12 – 13 March. Both exhibitions coincide with the International Pacific Arts Association Symposium to be staged in Auckland from March 14 -17.
Gossage's work is held in collections including Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, James Wallace Arts Trust and University of Auckland. Star Gossage is a 2014 Arts Foundation New Generation Award recipient. Star Gossage is represented by Tim Melville Gallery.
Enos’s works are held in the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum, public commissions through the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and private and corporate collections including the Sheraton Hotels, Aulani Resort, and Howard Hughes corporation.
Solomon Enos is represented by Na Mea Hawaiʻi.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Ngahiraka Mason, Project Curator
firstname.lastname@example.org | +1 (808) 778 0313
Josh Tengan, Project Manager
email@example.com | +1 (808) 202-8707
Hoʻomaikaʻi LLC / Na Mea Hawai’i
1050 Ala Moana Blvd #1000. Honolulu, HI 96813