Traditional Hawaiian Tattoo

Photo by Ryan Sakamoto

MAC News Release

Cultural practitioner Keli’i Makua will be giving a lecture and demonstration of Traditional Hawaiian Tattoo on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at Kulana ‘Oiwi. The events are presented by the Molokai Arts Center (MAC) Hawaiian Arts Program, in partnership with OHA – Molokai. The lecture on Uhi (Hawaiian Tattoo) will begin at 5:30 p.m. and a live demonstration will follow.

Makua was a featured artist at the Pacific Ink and Art Expo earlier this month. He apprenticed under Hawaiian tatau artist Keone Nunes for nearly three decades. In December 2016, Nunes conducted a historic ‘uniki ceremony to name Makua as the first Uhi master, or “Kahuna Ka Uhi” (Priest of Tattooing), to receive this honor in 200 years. Makua and Nunes are recognized for reestablishing the cultural significance of kakau (tattooing) and the discipline it takes to maintain the integrity of its sacred meaning. Traditionally, Hawaiians received tattoos to hoomana (to imbue with spiritual power) them within a spiritual and religious context. Makua will explain the in-depth process of receiving a meaningful tattoo and its connection to ancestral relationships.

“My ultimate goal is to take all of this vast amount of knowledge, shared wisdom and skills passed on to me from my family and teachers and share it with not only the people and nation of Hawaii, but with the world and with anyone seeking knowledge,” Makua said. “I feel I have been tasked with this and it is with great humility that I will give it my all to make sure I answer this calling and fulfill not only my destiny, but the destiny of my ancestors and the future generations…”

The event is free and open to the public through funding from Molokai Arts Center and OHA-Molokai.


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