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I lived in Hawaii in my 20's and learned how to build free standing dry stack rock walls, referred to as hakahaka walls. These walls were built around a home as a landscape element or to demarcate property, but they also held an ancient symbol of protection and strength. One such wall I built held back a lava flow.

“He Hakahaka”, the bind that holds all in place. 

The craft required solving a visual and structural problem, patience and time finding the perfect rock to fit the previous rock stacked, and tenacity to see the project through. In it, I found creative fire and

how to see- the bind that held my artistic vision in place.

My work continues to be bound and rooted in a connection to ancient place and practice. There's an attempt to communicate primordial inner impressions into form, to point to what I’m made of- the nature of my being; freedom, innocence, and a microcosm of the world itself.  One question emerges: what does it look like to come out of the collective amnesia from having forgotten who we are? 

I want my work and life to be a reminder of the essential unique nature of the individual and that there actually IS one to directly know. 

Cynthia Spillman is an Aptos, Ca. based painter.  

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