Below is a collection of sculptures, paintings and carvings crafted by Sonatane. If you would like to purchase any pieces listed, please contact us at the bottom of this page to check availability. Or if you are interested in custom making a piece, please click the custom order link in the above menu.
Meaning of Pukana: to stare wildly, dilate the eyes - done by both men and women while performing the haka and waiata to emphasize certain words and to add excitement to the performance.
This carving is the head of a Maori man performing the Haka. The Maori are native Polynesians to the country of New Zealand. The Maori people are best known for the Haka, which is a traditional war cry, dance or challenge from the Maori people to intimidate their opposition. There are also other types of Hakas used to welcome distinguished guests, acknowledge great achievements, funerals and other occasions.
The carvings in the man’s face are Maori tattoos. They are called Ta Moko, which is traditional Maori tattooing, often on the face. The original Moko was marked and scarred into the skin of an individual’s face. Each symbol or design has a connotation, usually they are tribal symbols that express the background and life stories of the wearer. Moko is a visual expression that links the wearer to his or her whakapapa (genealogy, lineage or decent). Traditionally, women wear Moko on their chin, while men’s Moko cover their entire face.
Kupuna or “The Wise One”
Meaning of Kupuna: A Hawaiian word for elder, grandparent or an older person. The word has three separate, but connected meanings.
Kupuna is a respected elder who has gained adequate life experience to become a leader of the family or community. The Kupuna is the quintessence of earned respect. He or she has a strong bond with his/her grandchildren, and in ancient Hawaii were their teachers and caretakers. Today as in ancient times, the Kupuna is expected to speak out and assist with decision making on important issues for the family and the community.
Another meaning of Kupuna is ancestor, this includes the many generations that existed before. They guide the family or community through individual, family or community difficulties. The kupuna include ‘aumakua (family guardian spirits) that take physical shape such as a honu (turtle) or mano (shark) who come to visit, caution or communicate with the individual or community.
Kupuna can also mean the beginning point of growth. This meaning includes the notion that forbearers and ancestors will always be treasured because he or she will assist with continued growth throughout one’s life. The kupuna are a source of wisdom, knowledge, direction, strength and encouragement to current and future generations.
The kupuna is one of Hawaii’s richest resources, and contribute to the improvement of the family and community of Hawaii.
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Oil paint on Tapa Cloth
This is a painting of the artist’s niece. The figure is painted on tapa cloth, which is a common material in Tongan culture. Tapa is made from the bark of a mulberry tree. The bark is pounded until it becomes flat and wide. The process of pounding the tapa is quite extensive. It involves soaking the bark, pounding it to a paper-thin sheet, and joining tapa together to make wide long sheets.
The design around the outside of the painting is called Fata‘o Tu’i Tonga. The Fata’o Tu’I Tonga design mimics sennit bindings (a type of cord made by plaiting strands of coconut husk) which hold and support the central beam of the King’s house which support the thatched roof.
This is a self-portrait of the artist who is a lead actor in the “Ha: Breath of Life” night show at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie, Hawaii. The show follows a young boy throughout his life into manhood. In this scene, you can see that his character “Mana” is pleased to be marrying the beautiful “Lani”. This wedding scene involves a spectacular Tahitian dance. Tahiti is well known for its beautiful pearls so the headpiece and the belt in this painting contain mother of pearl shells.
The fish hook is called a Mata'u. The hook is a symbol of prosperity. Polynesians live off the ocean, and prosper by the resources they obtain from the ocean. It also represents good luck, and a safe journey in travels. It is a symbol of strength.
This hook is made of Koa wood, a Hawaiian wood.
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