Saires Kalo

Today throughout Vanuatu Kava consumption is not only a social pastime but an important Kastom activity. In Kastom villages it remains an activity restricted solely to men. This, however, is not the case in Port Vila where women are free to consume the mild narcotic. In small doses kava induces an overall state of well-being, in larger quantities it can cause a state of overall numbness, disorientation and hallucinations. This state was often attained by chiefs and spiritual leaders in order to induce visions and communicate with the spirit world. Indeed, many traditional myths and visions throughout Vanuatu are based on its consumption.

In this image, Saires Kalo, depicts the motif that represents, for him, the state induced whilst under the influence of Kava. As he says himself, “I am Kavaman, that’s why I draw Kavaman”.

The winged figure represents the act of flying, a quality, which under the influence of kava he claims to experience. Wings and flight can also be seen as being representative of visions and the state of travel to and from other worldly dimensions

Saires has also depicted a Sep Sep, a local enigmatic troll who often appears at large social gatherings to create mischief and trick people.

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