An Artistic Collaboration: The Hawaiian Arts of Hula and Kapa

     AThe Artistic Collaboration o Kapa and Hulan artistic collaboration between a hui of contemporary kapa makers and Hālau O Kekuhi, Kumu hula Nalani Kanaka`ole, in which the hālau will be attired in Hawaiian kapa garments of pa`u and malo for a traditional hula presentation at the Merrie Monarch Ho`ike in April 2011 in Hilo Hawai`i.

     Kapa makers will come together to produce kapa for traditional Hawaiian hula garments in a manner that has not been seen for over a century. The purpose of this project is to showcase Hawaiian kapa in its functional, cultural and traditional use and form. 

     According to kapa maker, Marie MacDonald, “Years have gone by since we have responded to the reawakening of an art form once believed to have been lost to all time.  Each one of us woke up at different times, under different circumstances and at different speeds.  For the past fifty or sixty years we have labored at recovering the secrets of ka hana kapa.  We have discovered the plant materials and processes of manufacturing the rare Hawaiian kapa.  We have made the tools, concocted dye recipes, planted plots of wauke and searched out dye materials.  We’ve experimented, practiced, and produced and exhibited some wonderful pieces.”

   The 23 kapa makers, from Hawaii and California, are a part of the handful of practitioners who have devoted themselves to this art over the years.