MFA alumni Kat Kazlauskas (MFA 2020) and Kamran Samimi (MFA 2016) are the featured artists for an outdoor installation in Thomas Square sponsored by the Mayor's Office of Culture and the Arts (MOCA). The program Art at Thomas Square is part of the city’s vision to beautify Thomas Square Park and engage the public with thought-provoking artwork recognizing the significance of the park’s history. Both sculptures will be on view through 2023.


Shown: Adventitious Roots, Kat Kazlauskas, 2022. Photo by Lila Lee @_lilalee

Adventitious can be defined as—
1. something happening by chance instead of by design: as in, the pandemic has created adventitious circumstances showing us ways things can be different, and better;
2. something coming from outside (not native): as in, Hawai‘i and Oceania have been inundated by adventitious forces for generations—colonizers, militarization, tourism, pollution, and climate crisis induced environmental degradation and sea level rise;
3. something formed in an unusual anatomical position, (e.g., prop roots): as in, we as a human collective see that we, too, can form adventitious roots, through community and collective relationships, to stabilize us during the unexpected; and generate sustainable resources for the future.

The Hala (pandanus) tree is ubiquitous across the Pacific. It is resilient, and all of its parts are utilized. Mo‘ōlelo Hawai‘i is full of tales about the Hala being a finder of water and a harbinger of endings and/or new beginnings. Coming out of this pandemic—whether it’s over or we are just over it—we are faced with an adventitious opportunity to learn and instill the ways of Aloha ‘Āina for the future. We now know what a lack of overwhelming tourism can look like. We have concrete examples of how and why Hawai‘i should be more agriculturally self-sufficient. The reasons to curtail and hold accountable military occupation are crystal clear. There is a window of opportunity here to create lasting change. Aloha ‘Āina is all embracing for those who embrace it. It is a way of being and seeing through the lens of connection, the connection of all things.
In this sculptural abstraction, The roots are made of steel—the same material that has enabled the path from Mauka to Makai to be broken by skyscrapers.

The trunk and fronds are comprised of plastics intercepted from the waste stream. The reclaimed and collected plastics which comprise the trunk and foliage of this Hala, represents the present state of our planet—ever-changed by our forced reliance upon fossil fuels. The solar powered beacon of light represents the possibility that our future can be different.