With a creative process that recognizes the strength of diversity and importance of inclusion, his selected SMALL TOWN * BIG ART proposal embraced ‘Ike aku, ‘ike mai. Kōkua aku, kōkua mai. Pēlā ka nohona ‘ohana. ('Watch, observe. Help others and accept help. That is the family way.”)
20 minutes into an introductory conversation with Hale Hō’ikeʻike Director Sissy Lake-Farm describing Wailuku’s Nā Wai ʻEhā as the heart and life existence of our island home, Jarus asks to take her portrait with his 35 mm Nikon. Sissy laughs in her boisterous, beautiful, aloha-infused way and agrees, as she goes on to explain kapu aloha and Mauna Kea’s relation to Iao Valley. Along with Jarus’ chief collaborator, the stunningly sweet Ann Marie Power, the 3 get lost in an exchange that ends with a definitive “let’s pause here before we get too far ahead.” Jarus and Ann Marie have only just arrived from their Canada home ground, after-all, and we all have plenty of work to do as the conversation continues over the 3-week residency.
Thanks to the warm hospitality of Christine and honored Maui artist Phil Sabado, we are all convening at Wailuku’s Sabado Studios (directly behind Native Intelligence) to host a talk story and hands-on drawing workshop featuring Jarus. Over the course of 6 hours, Jarus shares his origin story as an artist, presents an hour-long demo creating a portrait of unofficial Wailuku mayor Lesley Cummings, and offers one-on-one instruction with a room full of hungry students from all levels of experience.
When we’re through, we head to Iao to wander the river and breathe in the lush and sacred place. The day is deemed as progress with the weeks ahead full of promise. From here, it’s stories, sketching and study as the 2nd installation of SMALL TOWN * BIG ART begins to take root.
Keep in touch on Instagram or Facebook at @smalltownbigart as we keep on keepin’ on.
Photos by Bryan Berkowitz