This site features selected works by Jen Goya / Jennifer Goya-Smith.

Remember Lehua

Jennifer Goya
Remember Lehua, 2020

When I was a young child, I fondly remember Kupuna Gora and Kupuna Wong would gather us on the floor in my classroom at Ma’e Ma’e Elementary. We would learn songs and have language and culture lessons every week. I remember listening to the unrequited love story between Pele and ‘Ōhi’a. If you pluck lehua blossoms, it would symbolically be the physical separation of ‘Ōhi’a and Lehua making it rain, like tears. To know that all native life (plant, animal, natural elements like earth, wind, rain) were embodiments of many Hawaiian deities was a foundational cultural belief I was taught as a child and still believe now.

I started with the concept of a lehua blossom lei to recreate it’s most popular story of inviting rain, if the flower is plucked. I wanted people to see themselves move and gesture the act of plucking lehua and they would see lehua fall like rain. Remember Lehua uses the creation of digital artifacts to embody the stories of ohia lehua, your stories, your memories through movement. Remember Lehua was inspired by ohia lehua mythology, its stories, the deities/gods they embody.

You can experience Remember Lehua at

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