Kema (with iwi)

36" x 48" oil on canvas

Kema depicts someone who is over three-quarters Hawaiian blood, something which is extremely rare today. The piece gives the viewer a choice of seeing the figure’s face disintegrating into the scull, a common symbol of death, or alternatively looking at the bones as the basis of flesh giving strength and form to the life layered over it. The bones or iwi, were sacred to the Native Hawaiians as they held the mana or spiritual power of a person and contrasts with the western views of life in flesh. Such comparisons of culture and interpretations of the human form can be seen throughout Kamea’s work.