The biggest barrier that lies between my family and me right now is the Pacific Ocean. The ocean has always played a huge part in my life, it was hard not to when you’re surrounded by it. I loved growing up in Hawaiʻi, I grew a fond appreciation for the big blue beauty. Through the use of cyanotype, I was able to explore my deep personal connection to the Pacific Ocean. After moving from Maui, Hawaiʻi to Portland, Oregon, I realized I was much farther from the ocean than I ever anticipated. The urge to see the ocean became so powerful and saddening, I started playing with recreating my own cameraless images of the ocean. Allowing myself to work camerless gave me the freedom to recreate my memories physically onto the paper. It is a different mode of working; freeing. I never felt constrained to one scene, I felt like I was able to make a scene, scratch it, and make a new one. Not only did it give me freedom of movement, but also the accessibility to play and experiment with the work. I became obsessed with this idea of filling this void for the deep blue sea with images I made. This work is made up of both fabric and water color images all done using cyanotypes. My work is both realistic images and abstracted thoughts/memories I have about the Pacific Ocean.
I thought about how this work would not only be healing, but a way for me to connect with my family back home as well. Luckily, I was able to return home during December-January before covid-19 made it impossible for me to go back home. While at home, I revisited all the beaches I went to growing up. I felt a lot had changed, a rush of frustration and anger followed by sadness overcame me. My memories of these beaches were glorified and trapped in my head. Instead of dwelling on the frustrations, I adapted and shifted the work to be more collaborative with my family members. For example, I used my sisters’ hand in the work as well, I had my mum touch all the fabrics, and I had conversations of the ocean before I was born with my dad. I wanted my family to be a part of it in the slightest ways; they didn’t even realize they were helping. This work allowed me to be one with the work, I would wrap the fabric around my body and swim with it. I also took a cyanotype piece with me everywhere I went and exposed it. It was very important to me to allow this work to be collaborative with my family because most of my memories of the ocean are with at least one of my family members. I knew this work needed to be made, I just didn’t realize how much I would heal and grow with the work.