Not long after Angaea arrived on Hawaiʻi Island in 2018, Kia’i (or protectors) of Mauna Kea began protesting against the thirty meter telescope. Angaea felt a strong sense of solidarity with the movement. “Coming to Hawaiʻi felt like stepping back in time to the 1700s, when the Philippines were being colonized by Spain and indigenous Filipinos were fighting to keep their cultural identity. I saw a lot of parallels between my own history and what is happening right now in Hawaiʻi,” says Angaea.
While participating in the protests, she attended a teach-in on the sister Goddesses Pele and Hiʻiaka and how destruction and creation go hand in hand. While destruction is often viewed as a negative, there is power and good in it. It can be used as a tool to rid ourselves of the things that no longer serve our well being, making room for new growth – like the beautiful ʻōhiʻa tree emerging from a barren volcanic landscape.
Her experience on the Mauna inspired a series of handmade books based on the sister Goddesses and the theme of destruction and new life. Hiʻiaka 1st Edition, captures the spirit of Hiʻiaka, the Hawaiian Goddess of life after death, with a rich green clover paper cover and a carved bone egg decorating the book’s spine, (referencing the story of how Hiʻiaka was carried as an egg across the ocean to Hawaiʻi Island by her sister Pele). Another handmade book from this series evokes the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess herself with a black and fiery orange handmade paper cover which perfectly mirrors the color and texture of cooling lava, bound with a goat spine clasp. Angaea notes that in making work about these iconic goddesses, she seeks to capture the essence of their personalities, without sexualizing them.
Pictured Above, Left to right:
Hiʻiaka first edition – 6″ x 4″, carved Bone, Lokta Dyed Handmade Paper, Clover handmade paper, gold mica flakes, black leather ribbon
Artist Angaea Cuna
Pele Goat Spine – 6” x 4”, marbled orange lokta paper, black ogura lace paper, goat’s bone, lava rock bead, black leather ribbon, dyed cotton paper