• Visions of Pasifika


    Dec 8 2017 - Nov 11 2018



As you move through this shared space, visualize yourself within Oceania. This is a home we have created for you, one filled with stories, memories, and hopes for the future. As in any home, be open to not only to observe, but to take part in the experience. Immerse yourself in the stories that we share. Put away your phones and cameras, and allow yourself to engage in a conversation with the mana and spirit that surrounds you. Acknowledge your place, the land where you stand, and the ancestors you bring with you today. In this sacred space, we stand together with you, and share ourselves, to bring a little piece of the Pacific to the Pacific Northwest.


  • Kalei'okalani / Kanaka Maoli

    Would you like to introduce yourself?

    Aloha pumehana no k?kou. O Kalei’okalani ko’u inoa. He Kanaka Maoli a Kepan? a P?ke a Pa’ele au. ‘O wau ka ha’api’i hula a ori Tahiti me ku’u P?’ulu ‘O Huraiti Mana ma Seattle Chinatown-International District. ‘O wau p? ke kumu hula ‘O Hula Mai ‘Oe ma ke kula ha’aha’a ‘O Hazel Valley. A me ka haku lei au.

    Greetings with aloha。 My name is Kalei’okalani。 I am Native Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, and Black。 I am the ha’api’i or one who both teaches and learns in hula and Tahitian dance with my group Huraiti Mana in Seattle Chinatown-International District。 I am also the hula teacher of Hula Mai ‘Oe at Hazel Valley Elementary。 And I am a lei weaver。

    Can you share more about where you are from and what inspires you to create?

    E noho au i Seattle. Mai wau I Wai’anae. I live in Seattle. I am from Wai’anae.

    幸运快3I was born and raised on the island of O’ahu, in the leeward coast, on the West Side, in the ahapua’a of Wai’anae. I grew up in Pokai Bay, Turtles, Pray for Sets, Tamura’s, Long’s, M?kaha, Swap Meet, Sand Island, Kamehameha Schools, Leihoku Elementary, and in mango trees. I grew up barefoot on rooftops and in sleepy gardens with geckos and maina birds. I create to continue challenging and discovering myself. I create to remember. Remember what my people have done and what they have taught me.

    What does “being creative” mean to you?

    Not being precise。 Following my instincts。 Working without parameters, borders, or hard and fast rules。 Just doing it。 To be creative is to be free。 Free to make your own choices, your own physical creations。 Enhancing your work by combining the past with new ideas, places, and things。 For some projects, like lei, I don’t recall having ever created this particular lei before, but once I start weaving, I’m reminded that perhaps in another life, I have。

    Can you tell us more about some of the works that you had created for the exhibit?

    My fresh-flower lei is tradition indigenous to: Pasifika。 Oceania。 Polynesia。 The Pacific Islands。 My particular styles are native to Hawai’i: Wili。 Lei pololei。 Lei kui。 Haku。 Hilo。 Lei are not simply decorative pieces; they share a spiritual connection with and are representative of the land they come from, the people who create them, and the people for whom they are made。 Lei is a cultural, personal, and spiritual exchange of aloha (love), mana (spiritual power), and mana’o (knowledge)。 Lei is an aesthetically beautiful embodiment of the innate practice of exchange among indigenous peoples and is a living counter to cultural appropriation。 It is an art form that survives appropriation, that thrives in an era of revitalization, and that perpetuates the futures of Kanaka Maoli, Hawaiian People。 As a haku lei, or lei weaver/creator, I am a stakeholder with a pono or righteous belonging to my culture, my people, and my art form。

    Why were these themes and ideas important to you to explore?

    Aue. It is sad when the appropriation of your culture makes you despise your own work. Commercial appropriation of lei has watered-down its meaning to simply a frivolous and tacky souvenir. Making lei has inspired me to take responsibility for my culture, to revitalize it in the ways that I am able. To be proud of my lei and to change the perspective of lei-making. Yet, how do I continue my indigeneity outside of the land to which I am indigenous? I make lei with what’s available to me, the types of plants grown here in Seattle. Whatever I can find at the local florist. Whatever’s on sale at Safeway. Whatever’s left of hydrangeas from the chilly yard in the middle of a Pacific Northwest winter. And with this work, I ask: how do we participate in cultural exchange as opposed to cultural appropriation? How can we utilize this indigenous practice of exchange and call for growth among our communities of today? How can we in our current generation create our culture and become the pillars of our new traditions?
    Walking through the exhibit, my hope for guests is that they will become a part of our exhibit, feeling as if the lei hanging and drying adorn them. They see the detail in lei weaving. They appreciate the time and effort and love that is lei. And for once, instead of taking the lei, they will instead take with them mana’o gained, the experience itself, and the connection they now have with those who created before and those who will create after. In a way, they will become a part of creating a long, never-ending lei.

    How was it working with other artists on this exhibit? What was that process like?

    Everyone is familiar。 Everyone is family。 Like h?nai cousins。 If they were older, I’d call them Aunty and Uncle。 It’s the islander in us。 We integrated our works around each other。 Wove together this exhibit。 Brought pieces of our homes from different parts of the world, and still it seemed like it was all the same house we grew up in。 Shared stories and laughs。 I only wish we were sitting together on the floor of a  partially-created exhibit longer。

    What other works in the exhibit resonated with you and why?

    幸运快3Roquin’s “Lineage” piece illustrating women of three different generations weaving each other’s hair。 Instantly it reminded me of myself, my sister, and my mother。 It reminded me that a mother and daughter’s bond of braiding hair is a shared ritual。 Many hours were spent as an impatient child sitting cross-legged on the floor while my mother or elder sister brushed and braided my long black hair。 At the time I didn’t appreciate it enough。 Now I look forward to the few moments we have and beg my mother to brush my hair。

    What does your vision of Pasifika look like?

    Like the keiki I teach and learn from。 All mixed。 All different faces and eyes and complexions, but al right, all true, all pono。 The faces of our future express the growing, shifting, expanding expressions of our selves。 Our people。 And I’m not afraid anymore。 I’m not afraid that my traditions will look slightly different than that of my ancestors。 Because I am slightly different。 Pasifika will always be changing。 But the people of Pasifika will be stakeholders in commanding, nurturing, growing and weaving a positive change。 It will no longer be that others alone will change us。 We have the righteous belonging to our culture, our people, our language, and our ways of life。

    What work do you most enjoying doing?

    Creating lei, making ‘ipu heke, but most of all, teaching and performing dance.

    What is your dream project?

    My dream project would be to host an Ori Tahiti Heiva, a Tahitian Dance Competition in Seattle。 There is a desire among dancers to be able to compete in Tahitian dance, but there is currently no heiva in the Pacific Northwest。 I hope to change this。 To bring drummers and judges from Hawai’i and invite all of the Tahitian dance groups of Washington, Western Canada, Oregon, and neighboring states to compete and enjoy the art and skill of ori Tahiti。

    Favorite or most inspirational place?

    My Grammy & Gramps’ mango tree in their back yard。 There were many mango trees, but right in the center of the yard, there was the largest。 A ten-year-old me created many songs, poems, and stories there。

    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

    Life is precious.

    Professionally, what’s your goal?

    To continue making my passion my career. That teaching and creating will be able to support my family and carry us through the future.

    What wouldn’t you do without?

    E ku’uipo a me ku’u ‘ohana. Me ke aloha pau’ole.


    Sunday, November 11, 2018 (Veteran’s Day)
    11AM – 1:30PM (2.5 hours)

    Join us for a lei-making workshop with Kalei’okalani to celebrate the closing of Visions of Pasifika. This workshop is challenging and is suggested for those 12 and up. No experience necessary!

    Artist and lei-weaver Kalei’okalani hosts a lei-making workshop in Seattle with the Wing Luke Museum. The workshop focuses on the wili or wrap style of Hawai’i, pictured here.
  • Roquin-Jon Quichocho Siongco / Chamoru

    Would you like to introduce yourself?

    Håfa ådai yan Buenas,
    Nå’ån-hu si Roquin-Jon Quichocho Siongco.

    Can you share more about where you are from and what inspires you to create?

    I was born and raised on Guåhan, but have spent quite a number of years in the South Salish Sea.

    幸运快3I draw a lot of my inspiration from the environment and hi(stories) that surround me. There are so many things that we know and don’t know at the same time. So exploring possibilities and perspectives is what I usually find myself doing.

    What does “being creative” mean to you?

    幸运快3“Being creative” to me is to be smart and to give yourself permission to explore.

    Can you tell us more about some of the works that you had created for the exhibit?

    These particular pieces have been thoughts throughout various different points of my life. With this exhibit, they were finally able to manifest. In short, my pieces explore what connection is, and what it can mean or look like. And in an ever (fast)changing world, looking at where are we creating new ones and forgetting old ones.

    Why were these themes and ideas important to you to explore?

    Growing up, I found myself disoriented because my body and history, and my people’s autonomy and (hi)stories had been/is being altered, controlled, and limited by outside colonial and imperial powers. So it was important to explore these themes as a way to reclaim ourselves and remember who we are.

    How was it working with other artists on this exhibit? What was that process like?

    It was a really fun process. The artists I worked with were phenomenal and I really believe in them and what they have to offer.

    We all were running on ‘island time’ and still installing last minute (hey, it’s cultural). And along the way, we shared space, story, and a lot of laughter. The more I think about it, we didn’t create this space- we simply brought ourselves and our (hi)stories to it.

    What other works in the exhibit resonated with you and why?

    All of them were powerful in their own way and I have been moved personally by every piece. But one that stands out would be Selena’s piece that features their Mother and Sisters braiding each other’s hair. Because we did not realized that we were both inspired by the same photo until we were installing our pieces. We turned to each other, saw what the other had brought, and said, “hey, why did you copy me?”

    It was special in that what we were bringing a piece to the exhibit that was personal, yet a one that is shared at the same time. (A connection to connections if you will).What does your vision of Pasifika look like?

    My vision of Pasifika is the spaces that hold the flickers of moonlight on the ocean, the laughter of children, the colours of Nåna’s garden, the warm rains and the sound they make when they fall on the tin roof.

  • Selena Velasco / Chamoru

    Would you like to introduce yourself?

    My name is Selena Lourdes Velasco。 My middle name is from my grandmother Lourdes。 I am a queer femme, Chamoru mother to 8 year old brown child, a tender loving Virgo, a mixed media/ visual artist and poet。

    Can you share more about where you are from and what inspires you to create?

    I am from the island of Guåhan, raised throughout these stolen indigenous lands, as well as a product of US imperialism and militarization of Guåhan。 Currently residing on the indigenous lands of coast Salish/ Duwamish territory。

    My ancestors, nature, my child, my healing, matriarchs, my queerness, inspire me to create – to share my journey of healing。

    What does “being creative” mean to you?

    Being creative takes many forms for me. Often It means I’m breathing life into an idea or an experience I had. I use my poetry, words as a compass to create visualizations through collaged imagery. Creating visuals, creating words, creating a feeling, creating a memory through art is truly a gift.

    Can you tell us more about some of the works that you had created for the exhibit?

    This exhibit was so special to me as a Pacific Islander, Chamoru artist! In particular the pieces that allowed me to commemorate the matriarchs in my life! Stringing each flower in the space with my friend Micah was so magical, because I thought of my grandmother’s love for flowers and how her spirit filled the space with every flower hung. To showcase photography taken by my sister Analisa of my mother standing next to a portrait of her mother to show the generations of matriarchs I come from brings me so much joy. Also the enlarged image of my mother with hands in her hair and a golden painted crown around her head symbolizing that she is saint-like, a matriarch I revere and honor.

    Why were these themes and ideas important to you to explore?

    Matriarchs have always been important to me because there were so many stories I wish I knew about the ancestors I come from。 By calling them into the exhibit space, allowed me to remember the mothers, grandmothers, femmes I come from。 To remember that before colonization and patriarchy, matriarchs led and nourished and continued to plant seeds of resilience in our indigenous communities。 That matriarchs are the land that we come from, that land that gives life。

    How was it working with other artists on this exhibit? What was that process like?

    Working with other Pacific Islander artists was such a dream because this was my first time collaborating with PI artists where many identified also as queer! From planning in the committee team to organically installing our pieces it all wove together so magically。 We incorporated themes our ancestors would be proud of: from water, earth, weaving, hair, matriarchs, song, chants…It was truly incredible to share space with beautiful PI artists that worked with such amazing mediums。

    What other works in the exhibit resonated with you and why?

    One piece created by another queer Chamoru artist, Roquin, that resonated with me was their embroidered piece of three generations. 3 embroidered hoops with 3 generations of brown Womxn/femmes holding each other’s hair. This struck me because I too incorporated a piece that was inspired by the same archived image of 3 Chamoru Womxn doing each other’s hair! In the exhibit, I have a photograph taken by my sister of my mother, niece and older sister braiding each other’s hair. Roquin and I had no idea that we were simultaneously creating pieces that were inspired by the same image! Now both pieces live side by side in the exhibit – like the ancestors wanted them to be!

    What does your vision of Pasifika look like?

    My vision of Pasifika is intergenerational where our elders are continuing tradition of oral story telling in our indigenous languages。 Where food and story continue to be made and shared。 Where generations to come will keep dreaming of our ancestors dreams。 Where my child will look to the matriarchs in their life, like I did and pray to them, ask them for guidance and resilience。 Where our islands of the Pasifika remember that we come from the starlit seas that our ancestors navigated together to bring us here today。


“How do you navigate your Pasifika future?”, 2017 / digital print, wheatpaste, paint markers

My pieces bring together the past, present, and future of Palauan experiences in a combined tribute to the strength of the Palauan women who came before me, homage to my father’s artwork, and ode to the infinite potential of Pasifika people.  They also incorporate visual and verbal affirmations, hopes, and visions I want to manifest in our collective Pasifika Futures. 

Growing up as the daughter of an artist, I never realized how powerful the impact of my father’s artwork was for me.  Palauan culture is rooted in strong matrilineal traditions, which differs from the values demonstrated through mainstream American media.  I am grateful that I grew up seeing strong Pasifika women represented in my father’s paintings and with stories of amazing maternal figures to whom I could trace back my lineage and source of native knowledge.
Lilian Ongelungel / Palauan

“Lei”, 2017 / ti leaves

Living in the Pacific Northwest, I feel most connected to the land when making lei. But I feel most excited when I am able to give lei. For me, to give lei to someone is to celebrate them, to thank them, and most of all, to love them. When a lei is given, it lives its purpose: to carry the aloha spirit, happiness, and mana from the person who made it to someone else.

Of these lei you see here in the space, though the pua and lau (the flowers and leaves) are of plants not native to Hawai’i, they still represent a Hawaiian tradition and speak of the land where I live now, the Pacific Northwest. For me, it is an expression of traditions adapting and that the aloha spirit can live in many forms. Although this practice is  native to Hawai’i and the islands of the Pacific, I feel that it is able to transcend across all lands and people, and continues to connect us all.

Kalei’okalani / Kanaka Maoli

“Lineage”, 2017 / Wood, fabric & natural fibers

I am the son of
My Mother, and
She is the Daughter of
Her Mother.

Life from
Clay soil and
Salt water

She carried Me
All of Her life
She was ready.

Scientifically, when a person is born with ovaries, they are born with all of the eggs they will ever have in their life – they do not generate more later on as they develop. So in a way, when someone is pregnant, they potentially hold not only the next generation, but the one after as well.

幸运快3Many cultures around the world are matriarchies – the idea and practice of a family, society, community, or state governed by women. With this work, I was curious about how families are connected to each other and the land itself, within that context. I was inspired by an old black and white photo of Chamoru women rubbing coconut oil in each others’ hair, taken on Guåhan in the early 1900s.

I questioned how tradition(s), (hi)stories, and experiences are passed down from generation to the next. We inherit so much from the moment we come into being. And in the case of intergenerational trauma, how do we heal, collectively and as individuals?
Roquin-Jon Quichocho Siongco / Chamoru

“I come from flowers and laughter: Chinalek”, 2017 / Mixed media

I am a femme who loves flowers, because I believe one day I will become one. My adoration for flowers stems from my mother and grandmother.  I grew up praying the rosary with my grandmother and mother.  They repeated prayers like ancestral chants. And at the center of the prayer was the statue of Mary, Our Lady of Fatima.  My mother would tell me as a child that the statue could feel the pain and joy of the world, so she made sure that flowers were always surrounding the statue of Mary.  My mother’s favorite flowers are carnations. “Flowers bring joy,”she said.

The native Chamoru word for flower is “chinalek,” which also translates to laughter.  I asked my father and his brother, “What kind of flowers did Nana Ana love?” My uncle replied with the widest smile and a loud laugh, “She loved orchids. You know (laughs) she used to talk and sing to her flowers and plants all the time!” When I care for flowers, I imagine my Nana Ana giggling, gently touching and humming to her beloved floral friends.

The flowers you see in the space, pouring down from the ceiling, are dedicated to each matriarch in my life. I dedicate each flower to my ancestors, to our indigenous, black and brown transcestors, to indigenous resistance, to my femme, trans, queer, two spirit, nonbinary, gender nonconforming siblings, to my mother, to my grandmothers, to my sisters, to my child, to myself.  Each flower is dedicated to indigenous, black and brown resilience and healing. Touch them. Feel them. Sing to them like my grandmother did.  I hope they bring you joy, remembrance, and laughter. 

Selena Velasco / Chamoru


Visions of Pasifika: Light from Another World幸运快3 is made possible by the support of community partners and the generosity of our donors and sponsors.


幸运快3The Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation


Seattle People’s Fund

About the Community Advisory Committee

Through the stories of our community, The Wing is able to create and develop exhibits with authentic voices from real people. Interested in joining a Community Advisory Committee? 

Community Advisory Committee
Taylor Ahana-Jamile
Selena Velasco
Jaynina Prince Smith
Rayann Onzuka
Toka Valu
Randizia Crisostomo
Jack Gray
Dakot-ta Alcantara Camacho
Roquin-Jon Siongco
Lili’uolani Pickford
Kalani Young

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