bloodstreams pump like kalo veins

Half Leaf
(Ope'ape'a)

Year

2021

Dimensions

10ft x 10.5ft x 4ft

Location

Hilo, Hawaii

Materials

Handmade Paper, Kona Coffee Wood, Lychee Wood, Artist Book

Sleeping and suspended, my winged sculptures are inspired by the mystery of Hawaii's endemic mammal the ʻōpeʻapeʻa (half-leaf), or the Hoary Bat. Little is known about this hairy beast and are rarely seen, but I've witnessed a flock of myna birds chase away a solitary ʻōpeʻapeʻa from a massive lychee tree by my house. My research hypothesizes that the arrival of invasive species or deforestation for tourism has endangered the ʻōpeʻapeʻa population. I fear that these beautiful and arcane animals will become extinct if we are not actively preserving our forest and minimizing commercial development in Hawaii. As a sustainable effort within my creative process, I upcycled fruit branches from farms during the pruning season and harvested non-natives fruits and recycled paper in the making of my handmade paper.

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Daydreaming, upside down in the trees,

Paper thin wings stretch into half leaves,

The roosting beast slowly reveals its eyes,

Waking up to the silver-lit moonrise.

But before the hunter’s hungry flight,

Its bones pop from the sliver of sunlight,

Bloodstreams pump like kalo veins,

It drops from its tree and flutters in the rain.

Not a myth and not a ghost,

But close to a tale at most,

The hoary bat dwindles in numbers,

A contender for another Hawaiian Wonder.

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