Lehuauakea is a māhū mixed-Native Hawaiian interdisciplinary artist and kapa maker from Pāpaʻikou on Moku O Keawe, the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Lehua’s Kānaka Maoli family descends from several lineages connected to Maui, Kauaʻi, Kohala, and Hāmākua where their family resides to this day.
Through a range of craft-based media, their art serves as a means of exploring cultural and biological ecologies, spectrums of Indigeneity, and what it means to live within the context of contemporary environmental degradation. With a particular focus on the labor-intensive making of ʻohe kāpala (carved bamboo printing tools), kapa (bark cloth), and natural pigments, Lehua is able to breathe new life into patterns and traditions practiced for generations. Through these acts of resilience that help forge deeper relationships with ʻāina, this mode of Indigenous storytelling is carried well into the future.
They have participated in several solo and group shows around the Pacific Ocean, and recently opened their first curatorial research project, DISplace, at the Five Oaks Museum in Portland, Oregon. The artist is currently based between the Pacific Northwest and Pāpaʻikou after earning their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting with a minor in Art + Ecology at Pacific Northwest College of Art.