In a Polynesian feast, food is a metaphor for the essence of Polynesian culture—giving without self regard. As Polynesian culture evolves, its aesthetic standard must necessarily change. Two seemingly conflicting essentials are necessary here for the survival of culture—the evolution of the cultural aesthetic, and the constancy of the culture's essence. One might consider as a metaphor the evolution of a tree through the seasons—though the foliage blooms, changes colors, dies and grows brittle, falls and regenerates, etc., the roots remain constant—ever nourishing the tree and ever supporting it and holding it up. As with the tree, the essence of the Polynesian culture must always remain constant, though the aesthetic trappings evolve and adapt to survive in an ever-changing environment. The work described herein demonstrates the glacial drift of culture and how, in the trappings of a modern, ever-evolving world, the Polynesian culture's essence survives. This work stands as a signpost on the road of identity, helping the earnest searcher to see, through the ever-changing foliage, the root or essence of identity. Thus, this work imbues its viewer with a sense of freedom with respect to her search for identity; for once the viewer recognizes that which is necessarily constant, she can freely embrace that which is necessarily evolving.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Visual Arts
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Hafoka, Tali Alisa, "Aha'aina" (2012). All Theses and Dissertations. 3336.
cultural identity, art about identity, Polynesia