Presentation: Talking Lei

Thank you to everyone who supported Talking Lei.

This installation was my final capstone project for the Rackham Graduate Certificate Program in World Performance Studies at the University of Michigan. This event took place at the School of Education on November 28, 2017.

Talking Lei Slide
This installation is a representation of my summer research in Hawaii in which I explored local Hawaiian identity through the teaching and learning of local knowledge. The project emerged as an autoethnography with multimedia components. 

I want to thank the women who are here to make lei: Patricia Garcia, Maggie Hanna, Ashley Jackson, Debi Khasnabis, Enid Rosario-Ramos, Jenny Sawada, and Amber Sizemore. 

This project is an exploration of storytelling. These women are a part of my story, my journey. My story is not complete without them. This project would not be possible without them. They have shown up for me tonight, a symbol for the support and love that they have given to me throughout my time here at the University of Michigan. I would not be who I am without them. And I want to take a moment to thank them for being a part of my life.

I also want to take a moment to thank my hanai sister, Katie Wong, who created the watercolor title cards for each of the pieces. While she is not present in body, it does make me smile to see her presence scattered throughout this room.

I wrote that this project explores the process of lei making as a metaphor for the embodiment of the connectedness of storytelling in physical space. I recognize that we are at the School of Education and that this type of presentation is not conventional for this space. So I am going to do a bit more of an introduction than I would if this piece existed as an installation somewhere else. 

The women today are making hakulei by bundling flowers and wrapping them together. This project extends this practice into metaphor. Today to create this project, I have gathered women who are important and beautiful to me, I have bundled them together to make lei, and I am wrapping them together through the context of this performance.

My writing is displayed in a circle, a lei, around the room. I encourage you all to move freely throughout the space and to interact with these pieces in whichever order you choose. The vignettes are not meant to be read in sequence. The individual pieces of this project are as important as the work as a whole. As you move through the space to read these stories, you add another layer of connectedness: your own. You become a part of this story as well.