Mahiai

36" x 50" oil on canvas

“Mahiai” is the Hawaiian word for “farm” or “farmer”. Here the three dimensional canvas splits the mahiai down the middle, showing him balancing a bunch of green bananas in one hand and a machete in the other. The division alludes to Man’s changing relationship with Nature. In his earliest days as a hunter-gatherer, Man was at the mercy of Mother Nature and what she randomly provided for him. Later, with the development of agriculture, the relationship changed and the two sides began struggling for control. In recent times Man has gained more and more power and has become so overwhelming that the rest of the environment is suffering. The majority of today’s population has no idea of how to live in harmony with our earth because urbanization and technology have taken Man’s personal connection with Nature out of the equation. This disconnection is represented by the white cloth printed with a luxury brand-like logo that the mahiai wears around his neck. It contrasts greatly with his rural and very “blue-collar” lifestyle, and hints at the modernity that comfortably wraps us yet at the same time has a choke hold on our lives. The figure looks up toward his future with a stern and questioning gaze, wondering if Man can find some kind of equilibrium with Nature that will give his bananas time to ripen and one day allow us to see the fruits of the labor of the Mahiai.

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