Interisland Terminal’s “ITO: Travelwrights” is about to take off, with Sig Zane, Nalani Kanaka‘ole and their son Kuha‘o Zane in the pilot seat on a journey that touches on Hawaii travel, past, present and future.
Sig Zane is a Hilo-based designer known for his limited-edition prints that mix contemporary graphic elements with ideas rooted in Hawaiian culture and ideals. Kanaka‘ole is a Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner and kumu hula for the Hilo-based Halau O Kekuhi, a duty she shares with her sister Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele. Both are the daughters of renowned hula practitioner Edith Kanaka‘ole, whose name graces the stadium that is home to the annual Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition.
Kuha‘o Zane gained his love of hula through his parents and is recognized for the street style he brought to The Cutlery and now to Sig Zane Designs.
The art and design event, opening June 2 at the Waikiki Parc Hotel and continuing through June 12, brings the Big Island family of visual and performing artists to Oahu in a collaborative pop-up boutique and art exhibition featuring a trio of art unveilings and talk-story sessions with each artist, as well as a “Piano & Bubbles” session that offers insight into the family’s creative dynamic.
It’s not every kid who’s willing to collaborate with Mom and Dad into adulthood, but Sig Zane said they brought Kuha‘o into their creative sessions early “and we’re lucky he still wants to eat dinner with us.”
Retail pop-up and exhibit featuring work by Sig Zane, Nalani Kanaka‘ole and Kuha‘o Zane:
» Where: Waikiki Parc Hotel lobby, 2233 Helumoa Road
“‘Piano and bubbles’ is a thing we do all the time. It’s how we come up with ideas,” Zane said. “It really started when Kuha‘o was a child. We’d sit down to eat dinner and we’d recap the things happening to us during the day or the week.
“As he got older, we took that one step further, continuing to meet and talk about creative ideas, hashing out what must be done to keep moving forward.”
Over the years, the family added a backdrop of soft piano music to accompany their discussions, with glasses of champagne that helped ideas flow.
It’s how “ITO: Travelwrights” came to be after the artists were invited by the arts group Interisland Terminal to show on Oahu. Interisland Terminal was founded in January 2009 by art-minded individuals as a way of helping Hawaii reach its creative potential by encouraging creative approaches to civic and social challenges.
Playing off the name and mission of Interisland Terminal, the family adopted the three-alphabet code for the Hilo International Airport, ITO, adding “Travelwrights” as a reference to savvy travelers who are able to move through the world with ease, speed and comfort.
Because their business involves frequent interisland travel, Zane said they care how they travel and what they carry with them.
“This led us to create a line of accessories that we would want to use ourselves,” he said.
This includes a range of comfortable clothing, totes, bags, computer and other cases to manage lives complicated by gadgets.
“Even a simple thing, like something to hold all your computer wires — how do you carry that? We all need these things as technology has evolved,” he said.
Linking each item is a fabric print, available in dozens of colors, featuring the imprint of each of the designers, incorporating elements applied with the ohe kapala, or bamboo stamp, on a triangular grid representing the stars that guided ancient Polynesian travelers. Within the grid are Kanaka‘ole’s stylized mantas, swimming in great numbers that would have been visible to ocean travelers; Sig Zane’s kaula, or canoe lashing; and Kuha‘o Zane’s graphic rendering of the braided rope.
In his own artwork, to be unveiled June 7, Sig Zane contemplated the position of being a “citizen of the window seat.”
“When we fly, everyone always wants that window seat, where they can see what things look like and get another perspective from the air. Taking off and being in the clouds is like being in the cloud of ideas. It gives you that time to be still, clear our minds, meditate and really see what’s out there.”