Project info

My family’s immigration from Okinawa to Hawaii has been shrouded by the passing down of stories. I heard that my Great-grandparents lived on Momohara Island. It was said that you could only get there by foot at low tide. I imagined no one else lived on the island but our family. And such a small, remote island would be abandoned by now...

The "Islands" body of work is inspired by a trip I took to Okinawa to investigate my family’s life there before immigrating to Kauai, Hawaii in the late 19th century. During my visit, however, old stories proved false. In actuality, there was no Momohara Island. In fact, my real family name is not even Momohara. This new knowledge has added to the legacy of my Great-grandparents. However, the “myths” did not die in my mind. I could not abandon their charm or my absorption of them.

I began to think about islands as metaphors for issues of legacy and memory. Islands are often associated with isolation, seclusion, exoticism and paradise. Throughout history, Islands are symbols for the inner person. “Every man is an island” – Jung. “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent” – John Donne. Many staples in our culture use the islands to symbolize emotional states: Homer’s Odyssey, where a difficult journey takes place over a series of islands; Mutiny on the Bounty, where sailors rebel against their captain for a life in Tahitian paradise. Recent movies like Cast Away and television shows such as Lost examine taxing elements of isolation and aspects of taming the tropics.

Islands is composed of landscape inspired studio creations. The studio creations are imaginary islands and places made of symbolic materials or compositions. These spaces discuss dreams of a belonging, the unknown, memory and place.