In 1976 the Polynesian Voyaging Society sailed its first ancestral canoe from Hawai’i to Tahiti and back. The vessel — dubbed Hōkūle’a, after the star Arcturus that rises and sets directly above the Hawaiian Islands — has since covered 140,000 sea miles, docking in bays and harbours across the Pacific, and inspiring over fifty other voyaging canoes and education programs. Hōkūle’a has become a symbol of Hawaiian Renaissance, guided by revived ancient ancestral navigation methods like the star compass, flight paths of migratory land birds, and the pattern of the waves. In 2014 Toronto and Hawai’i-based Brendan George Ko began work on a project of research, training, and discovery, that would take him three years to complete. In September 2016, Ko was part of the welcoming committee for Hōkūle’a’s visit to Kahnawá:ke Mohawk Territory in Québec, and he crewed the fleet of voyaging canoes that gathered for Hōkūle’a’s homecoming to O’ahu in June of 2017. The resulting body of work contributed to his winning of the CONTACT 2017 Portfolio Reviews Award.
CONTACT Gallery, Toronto January 11 – March 10, 2018
This article also appears in the issue 93 - SketchDiscover