At the age of 5, Sarai knew that she was to become an artist. While growing up in Honolulu, her parents sent her to summer classes at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. She carved out her very own painting studio in the family home at the age of 9. When she was 12, she was fortunate enough to travel to Paris and became enlightened by the masters work in the Louvre. (the best thing that can happen to a young artist!) While attending Hawaii School for Girls, La Pietra, she learned in the 8th grade within a 3 month time span the two art forms that would mold her own unique expression. True kapa making; the making of natural dyes from plants, the bamboo stamps, and the application of motif. She did not learn the aspect of making the kapa fiber from the wauke plant. Therefore, when she learned traditional batik three months later, she started painting the motif found on the bamboo kapa stamps onto natural fabric.
Knowing that her calling was to be an artist and live a life true to the philosophy of Aloha Aina, "to love the land", she apprenticed with kupuna (elders), keepers of the wisdom. Hawaiian, Native American, Tahitian, and Maori teachers have blessed her life of seeking knowledge. She traveled and lived on several islands when she gathered a deep understanding of island mythology, story lines, and founding energies that have movement still. Her close association with her teachers has led to a particular intuitive understanding of form, colour, and knowledge of what is appropriate for the occasion. Through the painstaking processing, she understands the making of batik in the old manner which is very labor intensive.
Sarai is also teaching the children of Molokai to batik in the old style in order to carry on the tradition. She has found a unique curriculum that bridges cultural communication, and satisfies the heart of native expression. Molokai has a large batiking hui (group) now. Developing an awareness for a culturally based art form; including motif, native plants and animals, aumakua (spirit guides), and prayer. The islanders are cultivating economic development via batik art.
Prior to moving to Molokai, Sarai lived in Makaha on the west side of Oahu where she worked closely with surfer Rell Sunn. Rell was very instrumental in bringing Sarai's walk with the ancestors (the old story lines) into a modern day application, value and worth. Rell asked Sarai to create many kapa motif bands for her various functions and it nd it came to life from that point on.
Milestones, Shows & Dreams
After traveling extensively, Sarai settled in Hana Maui to paint and raise her children. Days after moving home to Hana, artist Yaacor Agam (father of kinetic art) invited Sarai to Paris to have an art show. He encouraged her to paint of the truths of the Hawaiians ans Native Americans. This was in 1983.
Sarai worked on many fashion designs, creating one-of-a-kind art to wear for many of Hawaii's stars. Willie Nelson donated his hand-painted silk shirt to the Country Music Hall of Fame which Sarai custom made for him.
Aloha Festivals, Ka Huke Piko, and Makahiki were full of life for Sarai on Molokai. She helped create stages with large murals and fashion shows.
The Four Seasons Wailea, Maui invited Sarai to be a featured artist. She learned that our intelligent visitors wanted to grasp the deeper meanings of our values and culture. The language of motif finally bridged for her. She currently works in her studio on Maui, and has art in galleries around Hawaii. she has been featured in many magazines and exhibitions both in Hawaii and by lovers of the culture of Hawaii elsewhere.
If you want to see more recent works, browse my Portfolio.