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MAMo Wearable Art show at its three 2014 venues: the Hawai‘i Theatre in Honolulu, the Kahilu in Waimea, and the MACC in Kahului.  What the eight intervening years have wrought (in addition to an annual uptick in the quality of staging and execution) is an unapologetic confidence in our own skins and in our own ways of synthesizing culture and couture.

The  best of MAMo is interactive; stories are told, myths are reshaped, roles are reinvented, ala niho are traveled, and we are drawn into celebrating our people and selves in anything but wannabe western fashion.  A hemp-masked Moses Goods wades in whale-song to an uncertain destination. A kana-clad Taupouri Tangaro (the Dr. formerly known as Kaipo) duckwalks down the Kahului catwalk to pre-recorded pahu and realtime cries of “kupanaha!” An incredibly red Manaola model nearly bursts into flame in a gown reminsicent of the madams Pele and Cruella. A suddenly youthful John Osorio channels John Lennon, Imaikalani “Ginsberg” Kanahele holds a sign reading “What treaty?,” other boldly anachronistic Hawaiian hepcats dance and sign-wave (“Kū‘ē,” “‘Ai Pōhaku,” “Same Love”) in flamboyant Maile Andrade wraps, and the audience joins exuberantly in another round of “All we are saying is give peace a chance.”

Fiber and fabric are the MAMo media of choice, but the MAMO message at its most inspiring is that of identity not commodity. Know and celebrate come first; want and buy come later. May this continue to be the fuel that keeps the MAMo torch blazing a hiki i ke ao mālamalama.

Diversity and genius, evident since the eventʻs debut in 2006, continued to define the

MAMo Wearable Art 2014

A Hiki i ke Ao Mālamalama