Solomon Enos | Hawai’i, United States b.1976 | Kuu era: Polyfantastica the beginning (detail) 2006 | Gouache and synthetic polymer paint on paper | 53 sheets: 38 x 29cm (each) | Image courtesy: Solomon Enos and Meredith Desha Enos, Polyfantastica
b. 1979 Wai‘anae, Hawai‘i, United States
Lives and works in Kalihi, Hawai‘i, United States
Solomon Enos is a self-taught artist, illustrator and cultural activist. He conjures imaginative tales that convey his interest in local history and issues of representation, with a focus on how historical readings are made. Kuu era: Polyfantastica the beginning 2006 is a futuristic storytelling project recounting 40 000 years of Hawaiian history, developed in collaboration with scholars from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Beautifully illustrated and divided into four 10 000-year epochs, Polyfantastica calls forth associations of exploration and voyaging, grand battles and conquests, as well as diminishing resources and land disputes. Drawing on Hawaiian and wider Polynesian mythology, Enos’s intricate storyboards feature fantastical characters battling and romancing against a dramatic backdrop of volcanic mountain ranges and urban landscapes. Some are distinctively Hawaiian, sporting leg tattoos, rain capes and customary weapons, while others resemble sci-fi figures with fins for hands, bulbous anemone bodies and menacing teeth. Enos plays with non-linear narrative forms to blur the distinction between past and present, fact and fiction, while questioning the subjectivity of how we see and interpret the world.