Nanea Lum


"Eia Ke Kumu, 2021 is a ceremonial creation of artworks that honor the materiality and spirituality of the ‘āina of Mānoa. The components of the word ‘āi-na mean that which feeds. ‘Āina is all the living forces and features of the natural world which sustain life in the consumption and production of energy. ‘Āina is a concept of a relationship to the land which also includes thinking about identity and belonging.

"This work is my navigation of place, a methodology of making connections, and meaning as a Kanaka artist. Mānoa in its role as Kumu in the place setting of my education teaches a process of becoming centered spiritually, materially responsible, and navigating through ambiguity with a methodology. Eia Ke Kumu also translates to: here is the reason; the lesson, the beginning, the teacher, and the main stalk of a tree. The essential thesis question posed; He aha ke kumu i keia? What is the beginning, the lesson, the reason here?

"The Kumu of these compiled artworks begins in a place where I go to learn, in Mānoa, and takes me on a journey through transforming materials that have many layers of meaning and teaching about life. To produce the works included in Eia Ke Kumu, I conceptually navigated between kapa (a cloth made by beating the inner bark materials of the wauke tree [Broussonetia papyrifera] using wood carved hand tools) and Mānoa as the site for my specific creative processes in painting. Ephemera such as maps, videos, imprints, and paintings develop between these focused observations of site-specific interactivity. The chapters of Eia Ke Kumu are a virtual compendium of my epistemology, looking back at intense global change as well as my own self-preservation strategies while making the MFA exhibit at the University of Hawaii, Mānoa."

Native Hawaiian artist Nanea Lum is based in Honolulu. Her research-based practice ranges from kapa to large-scale oil paintings. She is a University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Department of Art and Art History MFA ‘21 and BFA ‘14, Excellence in Painting Awarded Artist ‘14, the ‘13 Yoko Radke Award for Excellence in Figurative Work. POW! WOW! HAWAII! Artist, and Aupuni Space resident. Nanea Received the 2018 John Young Scholarship award and the Graduate Dean’s Scholarship in the Masters’ study of Painting. She is the current coordinator of the Creative Artist Network Hi with the Hawaii Arts Alliance, an advocate for artist’s networks to provide resources and opportunities to support artists who are permanent residents of the Hawaiian Islands. Her areas of specialization include Hawaiian traditional craft techniques and art pedagogy involving place-based learning and indigenous knowledge. Nanea works with community organizations in Hawai’i producing projects and building networks relating Hawaiian learning pathways with ‘āina (land resources).

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Installation View, right to left,
He AHA Ke Kanaka,
E Pi'i Ana O Lalo,
University of Hawaii Main Gallery

He AHA Ke Kanaka,
Canvas imprinted under rock in Mānoa,
Pohaku noho i Waiakeakua,
‘Alaea and Kukui treebark ink with rabbit skin glue.
74” x 73”

Stretched canvas and buried canvas with
‘alaea i Luaalaea and acrylic paint.
57” x 93

E pi’i ana o lalo,
Canvas with buried canvas,
Waiakeakua stream bed and ‘alaea earth pigments with rabbit skin glue.
46.5” x 72”

Canvas and hand-formed paper on wood panel,
charcoal ink and acrylic paint.
36” x 48”

Kumu Kukui,
Stretched cotton fabric and ‘alaea earth,
charcoal ink and acrylic paint.
30” x 40”

Canvas and lepo mai Kanewai lo’i kalo,
screenprinted map,
Alaea earth and rabbit skin glue with acrylic and oil paint.
36” x 20”