Mystic: A Journey through Hawaiian Iconography
Photography series, 20"x20" and 20"x40" lightjet prints
In this series, I wanted to unite two of the most important aspects of Hawaiian spirituality: its people and its symbolism. I chose to represent a small group of spiritual iconography that has a personal connection to my own spirituality and beliefs.
The focus of my work explores traditional Hawaiian spirituality and how it has been sustained in contemporary Hawaiian culture through stories, myths and iconography recognized by those who believe in it today. Hawaiian spirituality is mainly built upon the idea of spiritual energy, or mana. Hawaii is unique because of its volcanism, its isolation and its endemic species that blend to create an unusually strong form of spiritual power. Many believe that mana inhabits everything in the islands. It resides within people, places, animals, plants, stones and many other things found in nature.
Although everyone and everything contains mana, Hawaiians recognize that there are many different types of spiritual power and not all energy is identical. Certain people, places and objects hold more spiritual energy than others do. In ancient Hawaii, knowing the type of mana contained within natural objects was of the utmost importance in all facets of life, for if objects with the incorrect mana were used, in any field of endeavor, the venture would not be successful.