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Aʻiaʻi Bello

Reni Aʻiaʻi Bello

Native Hawaiian Artist & Cultural Practitioner


It is late afternoon in the cool uplands of Wahiawa and a vibrant rainbow arches over
the home of Aʻiaʻi as she pounds a milky white 8 layered piece of fine kapa. Reni
A’ia’i Bello was born and raised on O’ahu. Her Hawaiian lineage finds its roots in
Maui. The colors and designs in her pieces reflect the islandsʻ beauty in nature as well
as her cultural awareness and spiritual creativity. While living in Spain for 15 years
she became aware of certain spiritual gifts and the importance of prayer. Lifeʻs journey
brought her back home where she studied and taught for 20 years; Hawaiian and
Spanish language, culture and hula among other things. “I literally immersed myself
in hula, chant and Hawaiian language and culture which have inspired me and sustained
me through the years as I raised my 2 children, now on their own journey.”
A‘ia‘i is passionate and dedicated to the indigenous arts of kapa (traditional Hawaiian
bark cloth) and hana hulu (feather work). She also dabbles in jewelry making,
carving bone, wood and stone. Back in high school she spent all of her free time in the
art room drawing, weaving and doing ceramics. Although she did not pursue art in
college art was always present in her life. In 2010 she attended the HOEA Indigenous
Art Program in Waimea, Hawaiʻi island and her passion was rekindled. Aʻiaʻi believes
indigenous art is a matter of cell and cultural memory and that it connects the
artist to Spirit as well as to the ancestors. “Words do not suffice,” she says. “We must
look at art with spiritual eyes and we will understand with our entire being.”
She continues her spiritual path now intertwined with her art work through her business
Ka Lamak La’akea “In the Light”.  Aʻiaʻi does spiritual consults, womenʻs circles,
and healing. In 2010 she began lecturing on Hawaiian spirituality. Her work has
taken her around the islands, the nation and even abroad. In 2009 she left her job
teaching high school and dedicated herself to Ka Lamakū Laʻakea as a spiritual consultant,
artist and cultural practitioner. She was a participant in the first Piko Art
Contest (2010) and has had her work showcased at the 2011 Merrie Monarch, HOEA
art exhibits and Waimea Valley on Oʻahu, where she does kapa and feather lei making
demonstrations. She teaches her craft privately and also works with schools and
community groups. Aʻiaʻi is currently collaborating with Shiori Abe, a Japanese artist
where they are exploring natural dyes from both cultures. They plan to do a two-man
exhibit in the near future which will include personal as well as collaborative pieces
creating a bridge between the two cultures “The spiritual work overs flows into my art
and my art reflects the work I do. It is so exciting to see the meshing of the two. Art is
healing and it brings light. It elevates the spirit…”




Kapa worn by Aʻiaʻi was made by Kauhane Heloca

Contact Info: Ka Lamakū Laʻakea
808 225-0087

3 Responses to Aʻiaʻi Bello

  1. Crystale Lehua Cayaban says:

    Aloha e ‘A’ia’i!
    It’s Lehua…You came to teach my class kapa making at Sacred Hearts Academy last year. I have since left the school and am currently working at a performing arts academy in Kalihi and we are expanding our programs for 2012-2013. We are in the process of writing a grant to fund the programs. I wanted to bring you in as a cultural practitioner for one of our programs. We would love to do a kapa lesson, dyes, and ‘ohe kapala. Would you be interested in working with us? If so, please contact me so that we can write it into our grant proposal.
    Mahalo nui!

    • Aʻiaʻi Bello says:

      Aloha e Lehua, Of course I remember I keep thinking we gotta get some wauke I felt so bad for the kids. Actually I would love to do that Iʻm trying to get some small kua and more beaters so that I can
      do a decent demo and Iʻm still taking care of my wauke but it is not yet ready to use. I had seen an announcement for Hawn lang teacher for Sacred Hearts and was wondering about that. I would love to work with you. getting more into dyes Iʻm doing a collaboration with a Japanese artist and she brought Japanese natural dyes so weʻre almost finished with our first collaborative piece. So exciting. My phone is still same as well as email cell 225-0087

  2. Thank you for sharing!

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