MAMo Wearable Art

Hawai‘i Theatre, May 20, 2010

Kahikina de Silva / Hanalei Marzan

Kapalai de Silva / Hanalei Marzan

Hanalei Marzan / Hanalei Marzan

MAMo (Maoli Arts Month) was established in 2006 by Vicky Holt Takamine when she returned from the Santa Fe Indian Market in New Mexico with a dream for a native arts festival of our own.  So she rallied the troops, drummed up funding, and in typical Vicky fashion, turned brainstorm into reality. 

MAMo, she says, has three goals: "First, it's our way of celebrating and showcasing the depth, breadth and diversity of the native Hawaiian arts community.  Second, we hope to educate locals and visitors about native Hawaiian art and to create economic opportunities for our artists by increasing their presence in museums and galleries. Third, we want to encourage native Hawaiian artists to meet with and mentor young Hawaiians to ensure the continuation of both contemporary and traditional art forms."

MAMo activities in May 2010 included the First Friday Gallery Walk, the Native Artists Awards Ceremony (with honorees Gladys Grace, Bob Freitas, Ipo Nihipali, and Maika‘i Tubbs), the Native Hawaiian Arts Market and Keiki Art Festival at Bishop Museum, the Native Hawaiian Arts Market and Cultural Festival at Keauhou, the reprise of Kea Hokoana's one-man play Kaululaau (with HMI's Moses Goods in that solo role), and the 4th Annual Wearable Art Show.

Each of the Wearable Art Shows has been remarkable for its demonstration of the capacity of our people --  designers, artists, artisans, po‘e hula, cultural practitioners, musicians, entertainers, and educators -- to assimilate and synthesize, to take a decidedly western institution, the fashion show, and turn it into something decidedly and exuberantly Hawaiian. This year's show, for example, featured over-the-top western staging (a catwalk, no less, running right up the center of the Hawai‘i Theatre)  in conjunction with the feather, pig-intestine, and ‘alaea-swirled  creations of Hanalei Marzan, the bare-but-dignified backsides of Keone Nunes's tattooed warriors, Shirley Brenner's draping of a pā‘ū rider accompanied by Robert Cazimeroʻs rendition of "I Lost My Heart to a Pā‘ū Rider," and the dramatic, Kuapaka‘a-inspired haute couture of Carrington Yap.

HMI's part in the event included modeling for Marzan and Nita Pilago, dancing with the gents of Nā Kamalei in celebration of Alan James's lei hainakā, and participating in a real-time, cutting-edge T-shirt demonstration by Malie Boll. Ten years ago, no one could have convinced us that there was anything appropriate about a hālau on a catwalk; three MAMos later, we're more than sold on the value of a carefully synthesized fashion show as a venue for culture-building and celebration. We left the theatre with a bounce in our step and the conviction that when Vicky, Robert, and Burton White put their heads together, the walls of can‘t-do and wonʻt-work come a-tumbling down.

Lilinoe Sterling / Nita Pilago

Anna Kahalekulu / Nita Pilago

Kiele Akana-Gooch and Kapua Sterling / Nita Pilago

Mapuana de Silva / Nita Pilago, Wahine Toa Designs


Designers in order of appearance:

Maile Andrade

Nola Nahulu -- Bette Mu‘u

Marques Hanalei Marzan

Malie Boll -- Cutting Edge

Shirley Brenner -- Kākua Pā‘u

Nita Pilago --Wahine Toa Designs

Keone Nunes -- Kakau

Alan James -- Punawai

Carrington Yap