LACUNA

Taken on Maui, printed in New York City as edible frosting layers intended for cakes, and later transferred by brush onto fine art watercolor paper by hand, Lacuna charts my travels throughout the historic sites and landscapes of Maui, Hawaii looking for scenes and moments that represent the social realities and tensions that show how the island is exploited.

As a Filipino born and raised in the mainland, I imagined Hawaii as a staging ground for how racial difference is appraised, preserved, fetishized, consumed, commodified in this country. It is the geographic equivalent of being a minority in that it is a literal outlier, radically different to the culture of the continental USA, but nevertheless desired.

The fact that Maui is a stock honeymoon destination called to mind weddings and wedding cakes. It was from there that it made sense to print on an edible surface since so much of this experience was about how we consume culture as well as making a gesture to the resource (sugar) that the first wave of Filipino immigrants labored to cultivate.

Looking for the cracks in the facade, I began to see life on Maui as an absurd and elaborate topiary, which this photo series takes exception to while simultaneously delighting in its brand of “heritage tourism”.

PRESS

"Sugar Coated? The Photographer Using Frosting to Show Hawaii’s Dark Side"

-VICE

"Exploring the “heritage tourism” of Hawaii with a sticky sweet photo series"

-Format Magazine

"These Photos Were Printed with Cake Frosting on Watercolor Paper"

-PetaPixel

A single locked gate encloses an open field on the Ke’anae Peninsula, which was created from lava flow originating from the Haleakala Crater. The stone church in the background was built in 1856 and is the only remaining building after the devastating tsunami of 1946 that killed 24 people. Now, the area is a popular pit stop where tourists can buy banana bread during the famous "Road to Hana".

A single locked gate encloses an open field on the Ke’anae Peninsula, which was created from lava flow originating from the Haleakala Crater. The stone church in the background was built in 1856 and is the only remaining building after the devastating tsunami of 1946 that killed 24 people. Now, the area is a popular pit stop where tourists can buy banana bread during the famous "Road to Hana".

Using Format