David Reisland, Hawaii

koa, mango

The island of Hawai'i is a place of very strong spiritual power. Pu'uhonua 0 Honaunau being one of the most powerful. For me the Hawaiian Ki'i exemplifies this powerful mana and is part of the creative force driving my work.

As god of the forest, there are nine names of Ku derivation. Craftsman working in wood and building canoes use the name Kupa-ai-ke'e. This is the inspiration for the marquetry figure on the door.

The design imitates one style of the offering stands called lele; consisting of four upright poles with an elevated platform. This lele seems to represent a pair of hands reaching up to present the offerings to the gods. I have tried to capture the same feeling with the four tall legs holding the god "Ku" elevated.

The small puka at the top of the right front leg represents the cliff caves at Kealakekua Bay. The dark, curly Koa interior mimics a cave or lava tube, where family guardians were often hidden. The Gothic top is a reference to later Christian worship that supplanted traditional worship.

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