Ola Nā Iwi Me Nā Hana No‘eau

Ola Nā Iwi Me Nā Hana No‘eau

Ola Nā Iwi
Me Nā Hana No‘eau

(The skills are passed on from generation to generation)

3rd from the series:‘Ike Ho‘omaopopo  by artist:  LeoHone

The third from the series, Ola Nā Iwi Me Nā Hana No‘eau, shows a young boy on the rocks at the Pale Kai near Hilo on the Big Island.  As he throws the net across the waves, you can see the  spirit of the older fisherman who passed on the skill to him –  in this case, his grandfather.  The sun sinks low in the skyand the past and present quietly merge…  and become as one…

Ola nā iwi… “the bones live”…   When we use the cultural knowledge and skills that have been entrusted to us, we stand in the very footprints of the ones who have walked before us.  We feel the mana  of knowing who we are.

Leohone 2001

“Who am I?” the amnesiac asks, panic reducing his voice to a thin, strangled cry.

“Who am I?” he asks again and, in desperation, begins to grope blindly down the gray, shadowed corridors looking for any door, any window to shed some light.

“Excuse me, do you recognize me?  Do you know who I am?” he begs of a stranger but the stranger just looks at him blankly, murmurs, “Sorry,” and continues along his way.

“Somebody, please, help me!”  In despair, he stands still and just closes his eyes…

When he opens his eyes again, he finds himself in a noisy, crowded train station.  He is just shuffling along in the line when he realizes he is almost at the ticket window.  In sudden confusion, he steps aside and turning to the stranger right behind him says, “You go ahead.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah… I’m sure.   You see, I don’t know who I am!  And if I don’t know who I am, how am I supposed to know where I’m going?”

Then, as he stands there isolated and alone, he begins to remember.  A beautiful smile spreads slowly across his face as he is filled with indescribable joy and relief.  Some of his memories are sad, even tragic, but, in reclaiming his past, he knows who he is.  He elbows his way back into the line crying, “Wait!  Wait!  It’s all okay now.  I know who I am so I know where I am supposed to go.” 

His past has defined him, memories streaming through the windows of the once bleak corridors, illuminating them with understanding. He has regained hope and assurance for the future.

In an even bigger picture, our ancestors are an integral part of our past and our history.  We are who we are because of who they were before we were ever here – just as the ones destined to come after us will be defined in part by who we are and how we respond to what we are called to do in this life.  We are who we are because of the influence and teaching of the ones who have come before us.                                                                                                                              

As  part of this “cultural time line,” we must be more aware of the people that lived and walked here before us.  We need to remember them to fully know and understand our unique place on this time line and we need to accept our responsibility to pass on the skills and knowledge that keep a culture from becoming extinct.  We need to know what we are called to do.

I realized about 10 years ago that what I am doing now with my art is my special calling.   This series deals with relationship between past and present – and ultimately, present and future.   I refer to my work on this series as my “mission.”  This is what I am called to do; it is likely what I will do for the rest of my painting life.

Leohone 2007

Artist Proofs           45″ x 52″                 Edition of 75

Edition A                 32″ x 36.98″           Edition of 225

Edition B                 22″ x 26.58″           Edition of 300

Edition C                 15″ x 17.33″           Edition of 450