Images by Tony Von Thelen
The Inspiration Manaola Yap has a deep connection to the ‘āina (land) and his identity is rooted in a strong sense of place. The elements of nature that surround him are both an artistic inspiration and a source of spiritual strength. Born in the beautiful Kohala region on the northwest side of Hawai‘i Island—a place rich in cultural and historical significance—his upbringing has provided him with a sturdy springboard from which he has launched a journey of discovery to understand his past so that he might honor it in the future.
His exposure to the art of hula connects him to the stories of ancient Hawai‘i, which guide his intentions and inform his belief in respect and care for the ‘āina. For Manaola, print design is a channel for the great mana—or power—of our natural surroundings, and he believes that this benevolent energy will be transferred to the wearer of the clothes or to the dwellers of the home that his patterns adorn. The Art of ‘Ohe Kāpala The practice of ‘ohe kāpala (bamboo stamping) dates back to the early migration of Polynesian settlers in Hawai‘i when the seedlings of this sacred plant were brought to the islands. These intricate stamps were traditionally used in the final stages of stamps were traditionally used in the final stages of kapa (Hawaiian bark cloth) decoration, inspired by repetitious patterns found in nature and created exclusively by hand.
Yap, acknowledges that MANAOLA is not about him, it is a vision and mission for all who share his passion for indigenous art and seek to celebrate native expressions. As MANAOLA continues to grow he is excited to expand his efforts and showcase the kuleana-based partnerships and relationships he has established with others in the local community and beyond.