A Virtual Installation by Jen Goya
***Website is optimized for desktop viewing, but works on tablet devices (Safari for iPads and Chrome for Android)
1. Check the box in the upper left corner to enable "Create mementos of lehua."
2. Select button that says "Camera On/Off"
3. Allow site access to your web camera
4. Wave your hand(s) infront of the camera
5. Watch lehua flowers appear on the screen while tracking your hand movement.
6. Rotate or zoom into your unique artifact using your mouse.
To participate, click the Goya can in the corner or here. If you don't have a web camera, you can create lehua with just your mouse here.
When I was a child, I fondly remember Kupuna Gora and Kupuna Wong would gather us on the floor in my classroom at Ma'e Ma'e Elementary. We would learn songs and have language and culture lessons every week. I remember listening to the unrequited love story between Pele and 'Ōhi'a. If you pluck lehua blossoms, it would symbolically be the physical separation of 'Ōhi'a and Lehua making it rain, like tears.
A fungal disease known as ceratocystis fimbriata, also known as Rapid Ōhiʻa Death (ROD), is capable of destroying the entire population of ohia, a critical native Hawaiian tree. This news was shocking to learn. The thought of 'ōhi'a lehua’s extinction felt terminal. To lose 'ōhi'a lehua, almost felt like losing my memory of the stories and people who painted my childhood.
For this project, I started with the concept of a lehua blossom lei to recreate it’s most popular story of inviting rain, if the flower is plucked. I wanted people to see themselves move and gesture the act of plucking lehua and they would see lehua fall like rain. Remember Lehua uses the creation of digital artifacts to embody the stories of ohia lehua, your stories, your memories through movement. Remember Lehua was inspired by ohia lehua mythology, its stories, the deities/gods they embody.
You can experience Remember Lehua at https://www.rememberlehua.com. Remember 'Ōhi'a, an interactive multimedia installation, conceived as a companion piece, will be on display at the Honolulu Museum of Art at this year's 2021 Artist of Hawaii exhibition. The exhibition will run from September through early January 2022.
Let's unite through a shared remote experience. Tell your story, share your memory. Take a picture of your lehua creation and post it to social media channels with the hashtag #rememberohia or Tweet #rememberlehua.
"The tears of the two lovers, 'Ōhi'a and Lehua, when they are separated. It’s said that shortly after a lehua flower is picked, it will rain." (Hawaii Magazine)
The background image is from aeriel footage of an 'ōhi'a forest on the Hawai'i island. The white tree tops are dead 'ōhi'a trees and the redish brown tree tops have weeks, maybe even only days to live.
"The fungus (ROD) is a strangler. It causes a disease known as Rapid 'Ōhi'a Death, which works its way into the vascular system of the plant and cuts off the internal water supply, starving the tree. Within weeks, the tree’s leaves turn a dull red-brown. Black smudges appear in the sapwood. Eventually, the leaves fall off, leaving a skeletal claw of diseased wood behind. The lifeless core of the tree, still reaching skywards, is doomed to rot. There is no known cure for the infection." (One Zero by Medium(1)(2))For more information about Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD) visit CTAHR at UH Mānoa.