alexa montesa

 Portrait of a Place

Maui, Hawaii, USA

collected by: Alexa Montesa - December 2017


First scent you noticed.
fresh air, plumeria, anticipated rain, rich and dense soil

A piece of artwork that represents
your experience in that place. 

We went to the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center where
Ethel Baldwin’s work was on display. The Center used to be her home: where she hosted meetings through the local suffragette’s movement, built a community of those who made and appreciated art. Walking around the property we came across spiders, a ceramics sale, a cat named Leo and wet grass

hui > community
no’eau > deep thought and consideration

What is the most predominant color?

rich, dense, so-heavy-you-can-smell-it green

Something that you learned.
Firetrucks in Maui are sunshine yellow. 

How high were you? How low?

HIGH: Driving up Kula Highway from the the tiny town of Makawao, you could see the clouds receding from the top of Haleakalā having just released its downpour. I rolled my window down and closed my eyes to feel the sensation of the recent rain still lingering in the air,
which cooled my skin. We were headed to Ali'i Kula Lavender.  Once we took the turn onto Waipoli Road I knew we were near - the calming scentof unpicked lavender is still vivid in my memory.

LOW: The day was spent driving along the Hana Highway on the windward east side of the island through more than 100 turns and on-off downpours. We were trying to beat the sunset while we finished out our drive on the leewind side of the island. Our anxiety turned the end
of our drive into a force majeure as we looked down from the one lane, unpaved highway and the sun blinding us as it made it’s decent into the seemingly end of the ocean. This highway you see is on the EDGE of never ending cliffs that resemble what you’d imagine Mars looking like, which is a stark contrast against the lush, rainy side we experienced only a hour before.  You also have to watch for cars coming in the opposite direction. As pressed for time as we were, the last few times we got out of the car were only for one minute intervals. My ma pulled the car over so my brother and I could run to a beach filled with grey vesticulated basalt rocks the size of our hands. I looked up and saw the first quarter
moon above and felt so small yet also humbled I was in the presence of such beauty.

A textile specific to the place.

When I was planning out things prior to going I came across these hats. So I tried looking for one or something uniquely woven, but came up unsuccessful.

Why did you go there? First time?

My mother suggested we go on vacation this year for the holidays. This is something growing up we never did. It was a big deal for all of us, but especially my mother. She was proud of herself for being able to provide an experience for us. So her, my brother Ben and I went to Maui together - all our first time.

Who did you talk to?

1.    my ma

2.    my brother Ben

3.    a guy named James in Request Record Store in Waikulu

4.    An older man on the beach who offered me a Foster’s while I waited for the sun to set.

5.    the girl behind the counter working at the gelato shop who was from Wisconsin - she has lived in Hawaii for three years now and loves it; her family is following in her footsteps.

A food moment.On Christmas Day we went to a Vietnamese restaurant for a late lunch. I ordered my go to: shrimp rice vermicelli noodle dish with spring rolls and a iced coffee with the sweetened condensed milk. As we were leaving there were 10 roosters in the parking lot. Two children were feeding them french fries.

other moments: papayas, banana macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup, malasadas from Homemaid Café, apple bananas, krispy creme donuts, acai bowls, coconut gelato, chicken enchiladas, tuna poké,  fish tacos with mango tartar, banana mango shaved ice

Recommended reading

Pele: Godden of Hawai’i’s Volcanoes by Herb Kane
Voices of Maui by Norm Bezane

Pua KeniKeni

  Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center

expansive earth on Hana highway

floating above in lavender fields

  near the EDGE

pele dreaming