Kēla Kahikina

The Memory of Touch



Touch is ingrained into the flesh by a glimpse of past gestures. The presence of an intruding warmth taunts the depths of the mind. These marks stain the body which forms an unforgiving relationship, a memory of touch. In my body of work, I reveal how actions of touch can leave moments of time inscribed within the human psyche and flesh. Though one may not be experiencing the physical touch, mentally the touch can be reexperienced. This speaks about the experiences and mental trauma that victims of sexual harassment face. Using female forms, I will be utilizing clay to not only represent the after-effects of touch but, to allow its memory to be visible. By manipulating the fluidity and air exposure of the clay will allow this substance to be at its most fragile state. At this stage, the clay is so vulnerable that the potency of touch may break or crack its body. To illustrate this, the female form will embody the vessel of the victim. Allowing viewers to confront touch and learn how it manipulates the human psyche and flesh. This will be displayed first through plastic material which will allow viewers to participate in looking at the victim through an objectified male gaze. Then through flesh, to experience touch by viewing the victim through a personal and confessional lens. By doing so, I hope to spread awareness and start a conversation about the importance of sexual harassment and mental illness struggles.

For inquiries email kelakahikina@gmail.com

“Inflamed Passion”, 1,200px x 1,024px, Cone 04 & Cone 5 Clay, Polyurethane
“Do You Love Me?”, 11in L x 25in W x 72in H, Acrylics and Cone 5 Clay
“Do You Love Me?” closeup, 11in L x 25in W x 72in H, Acrylics and Cone 5 Clay
“Crimson Sap”, 6in L x 16in W x 30 1/2in H, Acrylics, Polyurethane, Cone 5 Clay
“MadWoman”, 9in L x 8in W x 12in H, Acrylics, Polyurethane, Cone 5 Clay
“My Disfigured Beloved”, 6 1/2in L x 17in W x 30in H, Acrylics, Polyurethane, Cone 5 Clay
“Self-Abandonment”, 1,200px x 778px, Cone 04 Clay


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Outstanding ! ! The embodiment of your work does open up a very important conversation of which you have created for all of us to see and feel – “Kudos To You ‘

Kela, so happy to see your BFA work! Impressive and impactful! Keep in touch…I want to see what comes next in your creativity!

Unbelievably beautiful. I adore the utilisation of clay in its most fragile state to explain the consequences of touch. I love the different poses of the sculptures, one in a very vulnerable and intimate position, another standing confidently, and the torsos and heads seem as though they are being dissected and almost objectified in a way. The bleeding drips of reds and blues, the handprints, and the small notes bring attention to stories that many women experience but have difficulty talking about. Your work speaks truth and gives me a sense of understanding, courage and strength. Beautiful work as always.

Beautiful touch Kela! So amazing to see these after this year of transformation. Congrats Kela!

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