Portrait of Joshua Lanakila Mangauil
Oil on Belgian Linen
Copyright Rose Adare 2014
Born on the Big Island, Lanakila balances indigenous Hawaiian culture with the modern world. Hired by the Waiakea Elementary School as part of Hawaii’s cultural Kupuna program, he teaches youth about the Aina they walk on, and the gods and goddesses present in their everyday life.
Flown to Poland as part of his program Eola Mauika Pono, Lanakila also helps communities reconnect with their heritage, their elders, their medicinal plants, and the ancient deities of their own land.
Protesting the further development of Mauna Kea’s summit, Lanakila turns his eyes to the future of Hawaii’s sacred sites, and what it means to be a warrior in the 21st century. Lanakila’s rope binding is modeled after ancient Hawaiian armor made from Hau cordage. Each twist in the rope represents another tradition, supporting the core to make the wearer stand straight and tall. Lanakila’s mahi’ole, helmet- like hair is inspired by illustrations of Hawaiian warrior- haircuts in European ship-logs, dated from the 19th century.
“Through every action you do, you are a teacher no matter what. No matter how you talk, how you walk, how you dress— you are teaching the little ones. It’s part of the cycle of life. Each person passes on a trait, leaving a ripple in this water. Being mindful of that, being conscious all the time in your life, no matter what, is important. We are all part of this together.”
— Joshua Lanakila Mangauil