I grew up in Kane’ohe, Hawai’i where the majestic Ko’olau mountains were literally outside my door. I would wake and look at the peaks to decide what kind of weather we would have by looking at the color of the sky and type of clouds in early morning. Even as I learned about geology and how they were formed, the raw beauty of them is undeniable.
A journey I have been walking for some time now was to discover my artistic heritage. I thought it would involve Japanese culture, the ethnic history of my family, or Hawaiian culture, the land of my birth, or American culture or even Swedish culture my citizenship. But I have found, all of them have contributed to the What and How of who I became, but the WHO I am becoming, comes from my heavenly Father and Creator, the living and almighty God, the Original Artist. When I realised this, and claimed my heritage, a peace has settled into my bones, and the freedom and joy of creating and making things seems so natural.
I know talking about these sorts of things will make some uncomfortable–but it is the truth and as an artist, we must speak the truth. Some share the pain from trauma at the hands of others. Others share their joy in their family, culture or environment. When I create out of the WHO I am, then it feels authentic and joyful in the making. When I share my art with someone else who connects with my stories, then it feels like I have completed my purpose in life, my kuleana, in my area of holy work I am here to do.
Lastly, the most comforting part of knowing your heritage, is it gives you a solid foundation to stand upon by knowing who you are. I think those who discover and claim their cultural heritage is a rich resource, if you take the whole history, the whole truth-the parts to be proud of, the others to reflect in humility. So, for me, knowing that despite my limitations, my misjudgments and mistakes, I have a solid rock to lean on because I am not trying to to make it all happen all by myself–I am not trying to be God–I am relying on the power of God through me to create and share light with my community and the world.