Fiber artist and cultural practitioner Marques Hanalei Marzan has dedicated his career to recovering and reviving the art of kōkō puʻupuʻu, or rope and cordage vessels, both physical and metaphoric vessels for Native Hawaiian values.
As Marzan explains, “Respect is given and received over our lifetime and in time, when we can no longer walk because of old age, we are carried by our family in nets, ka i kōkō. The bonds created in this world do not cease when we get old and infirm, it is rather a time when our commitment needs to be its strongest. I try to acknowledge and visually present these cultural values and traditions in my practice and hope my work encourages continual exploration, perpetuation, and innovation.”
He is highly experienced in his field and has learned and trained under noted experts in Hawai’i, including master weavers, Julia Minerva Kaawa and Esther Kakalia Westmoreland. Marzan shares his understanding and passion of the fiber arts through public presentations, demonstrations, and workshops that restore, in modern culture, the living presence of rare Hawaiian forms, materials, and designs. Drawing upon this foundation of knowledge, Marzan bridges the traditions of the past with the innovations of the present, creating a dialogue within his work that speaks to the evolutionary continuity of culture.
Marzan received his Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Fiber Arts, from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and holds a certificate in Museum Studies from George Washington University.
Life inspires me and my art is my gift back to those that give me so much.
Marques Hanalei Marzan
That which binds us together: Marques Marzan at TEDxManoa, 2013.