Kawika Lum-Nelmida

He // Him // His

[ID: Kawika stands against the Ewa/Waipio plains on Oʻahu. He is wearing a ʻIʻiwi aloha shirt and dark glasses.]

Hawaiian Feather Artist
Honolulu, HI
2021 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the USA Endowment Fund.

Kawika Lum-Nelmida (b. 1976) is a hulu (feather) artist from Pūpūkea, Oʻahu. Lum-Nelmida started learning about lei hulu (feather adornments) from Paulette Kahalepuna in 1997 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he studied Natural Environment and Fiber Arts within the Hawaiian Studies program and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2001. Since 2012, he has been an active artist participant in MAMo: Maoli Arts Movement, a program of the PAʻI Foundation. His fiber arts teacher at UH Mānoa was Maile Andrade, a 2013 MAMo awardee.

In 2013, he was awarded a Master’s Apprenticeship with Kahalepuna (recipient of 2014 MAMo and ʻŌʻō awards) through the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Under this apprenticeship, he studied Hawaiian feather work in the forms of lei (adornment), kāhili (feather standard), ahuʻula (cape), and mahiʻole (helmets). During this time, he also studied works from traditional materials, learning how to use, cultivate, and preserve these materials.

In his traditional practice, he also uses modern materials to create contemporary art pieces. He has ventured into clothing design, with his work featured in the annual MAMo Wearable Art Show. Lum-Nelmida has taken his contemporary and traditional work to cultural demonstrations and workshops all over the world.

Portrait photo by Kyle Wright.

  • Artwork by Kawika Lum-Nelmida
    Blue ball gown with rooster tails and handheld kahili (feather standard), 2018.
    [ID: Standing on black rocks and backdropped by mountainous trees, a model with tan skin and long curly black hair models a royal blue ball gown circled with rows of long greyish green feathers.]
  • Artwork by Kawika Lum-Nelmida
    Pair of Kahili (feather standards) for Queen Kapiʻolaniʻs bedroom, Iolani Palace, Honolulu. Rooster tail feathers, Kapa Cloth, and Ipe wood, dimensions 15.5 feet.
    [ID: A regal bedroom with polished wooden furniture and lush burgundy curtains and bedding. Two identical thin, towering sculptures with large conical tops covered in brown feathers flank the bed.]
  • Artwork by Kawika Lum-Nelmida
    Cape (ʻahuʻula), 2017. White rooster tail and red-and-yellow-dyed goose feathers, dimensions 6 × 7.5 feet. Hulia ʻAno Exhibit, Bishop Museum, Honolulu.
    [ID: Graphic of Kawika Lum-Nelmida's photos and bio in a grid with photos of a long cape of white feathers with red and yellow details at the neck.]
Artwork by Kawika Lum-Nelmida Artwork by Kawika Lum-Nelmida Artwork by Kawika Lum-Nelmida