Mariana Monasi: Mākuahine

This was by far my favorite visual storytelling project, because it came with the incredible privilege of witnessing the tightest bond two humans can have. There were laughs and tears– both happy and painful. I give my complete appreciation to every family that made the time to contribute their stories to this project. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the incredible reflection, insight and vulnerability that each of you arrived at the table with and brought to our conversations.

As I took on this project and started interviewing mothers in every form, I consciously reflected on the term mākuahine as well as on my own relationship with my mama. Many of us come from large families, and have first hand experience being reared by extended family, some are adopted into new families and some have to find solace and love from chosen family later in life by building community with trust and acceptance.

The term makua means much more than parent, and expands further than the Western understanding of the nuclear family. Mākuahine and Mākuakane are gender assigned terms for parenthood, and in alignment with reverence for gender fluidity, makua can be used for all of those who parent us. There is shared responsibility within the community; to be nurtured, protected and held accountable by older generations. It is words of guidance as well as behavior and action, in every generation, building on the foundation of their makua, to create a better future for their keiki.

This project celebrates the reverence of queer mākuahine in all its forms. Whether you are makua to a queer child, a queer parent raising kids, you makua your friends’ keiki, or you are a haus mother, we are grateful for you. We are celebrating your love toward the next generation, because as we know very well, the chosen family we build is the most beautiful and incredible reflection of safety, reverence and love for our people, and the seven generations to come.

Mariana Monasi is a passionate creative who loves building relationships with people and recognizing that everyone has a story to tell. A photographer for the last 9 years, Mariana says, “I’ve learned that my favorite sessions are those that allow me to freeze in time the intimate and deep moments of the human experience: love and passion. As a life long learner, I continue to pursue opportunities that challenge me as a person and as an artist.”

Learn more about Mariana by visiting Pachamama Creative.