Papa Moana by Craig Stecyk's 1989
Published by Laguna Art Museum, 1989.
11" x 8.5"
1st edition - Signed
"In his newest installation, "Papa Moana" (Hawaiian for ocean board ), the focus is on derelict wooden surfboards that Stecyk collected from trash bins while growing up in Santa Monica during the '50s and '60s, back when the city was the center of mainland surfing activity. "Papa Moana" will occupy the Laguna Art Museum Satellite at South Coast Plaza through Oct. 1.The relic boards, now brightly painted, range from 10 to 16 feet long and would barely be recognizable to a modern surfer. Today's boards are usually less than seven feet long and are made of foam and resin. The ones in the show date from the 1920s and '30s, before new synthetic materials made wooden boards obsolete.Stecyk salvaged the boards but was not sure what to do with them until about 10 years ago, when he thought of incorporating them in a piece that would symbolize the hybridization of Hawaiian culture.Lining corrugated-metal walls in the shopping mall's dimly lit gallery, the boards are adorned with various images. There is a portrait of King David Kalakaua, the last Hawaiian king, who, before he was deposed in 1899, championed the resurgence of surfing and other traditional Hawaiian activities suppressed by missionaries.Another board carries, in calligraphy, a Zen statement, "Silence like a clap of thunder"--a nod to the pervasive Japanese presence in Hawaii. Still another board is adorned with symbols from ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs, including a depiction of a man surfing. Other images--on one board, the Nazi SS symbol is juxtaposed with the herald of the famed 1913 Armory Show of modern art in New York--may not be so easy to interpret."It would be a mistake to think this piece is really about surfing," Stecyk said during an interview in Woodland Hills, where he lives with wife, painter Lynn Coleman, and their two sons."They're metaphorical elements as much as anything else," he said. For Stecyk, the Hawaiian concept ofkoana --the hidden or other meaning--plays strongly in the installation. The Hawaiian language, according to Stecyk, has more multiple meanings than any other."