Teresa Robertson

Mele Ma'i

(Procreation Chants)


Artist Statement

"Mele Ma'i, genital or procreative chants, were traditionally composed at the birth of a child -- especially the first born -- in order to celebrate and encourage the perpetuation of that child’s family line." (credit: Kamehameha Schools)

While on the island of Oahu, I had the blessing to learn more about the sacred act of hula through a series of events at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. It was during the Hula Ma‘i: Procreation Chants and Dances lecture, given by the incredible Kumu Hula Hōkūlani Holt of Pā‘ū o Hi‘iaka, that I began to really understand the depths of what I was in the midst of photographing on the island and how the land was still visibly, beautifully, creating birth within itself. 

Long before the event, I had somewhat lazily been trying to capture some ‘pretty pictures’ for friends and family back home. I was awed and humbled when I realized the Hawaiian land was revealing more to me than a majestic sunset: Relationships, turmoil, procreation, even death, were suddenly appearing in all it’s raw, messy, subtle, sometimes dirty, truth.

With as much time as I spend creating around the subject of women and birth, I began to see even more of a connection between what we experience as people and our natural environment. From a single pair of legs, spread and giving birth to multiple generations (‘Birth of the Family Tree’) to the devastation that can sometimes come with life (‘Miscarried’), these images offer a connecting thread of sustainability between us and Mother Earth. 

My intent with this series is to not only serve as a medium to the island of Oahu by sharing its beauty, but to also educate others on just a small portion of its history, culture, and land, which must be protected. 

I give my deepest, most humble gratitude to the women I met while creating this body of work. While I will never be able to express the gratefulness I have for your wisdom, acceptance, and education, I promise to gift it to others the best way I know how. 



Click/tap to view larger

Artist Bio

Trained in the darkroom long before digital photography was introduced, Teresa Robertson's education in Fine Art Illustration, Fine Art Painting, and Film Photography (Savannah College of Art and Design) allows her to break boundaries when it comes to the concepts, creation, and execution of her work. 

Women tend to be the underlying thread to her work, whether she's capturing birth, children, or Mother Earth. "No matter the subject and the story being told, my mind always comes back to how a female presence somehow influenced what I'm looking at." 

Teresa is proud to have been included in several galleries, publications, and awards of honor. 

Skilled in presentation and print craftsmanship, Teresa considers herself a Print Artist as much as a Photographer. 


In addition to her BFA at the Savannah College of Art & Design (major Photography/minor Illustration) and Certified Professional Photographer certification through the Professional Photographers of America, Teresa lists of contributions, awards, and publications include the following: 


2016 Best of What's Up West County, 2016/2017/2018 Best of Expertise, (5x) Deserving of a Merit (Maryland Professional Photographers of America), Silverworks Finalist (Savannah College of Art and Design), Society of Illustrators Los Angeles West 39 Finalist

Relatable Professional Experience and Volunteer

Paleo Women Podcast, Well-Fed Women Podcast, Coconuts & Kettlebells (book), Coconuts & Kettlebells (site), Anne Arundel Medical Center, Stadia Magazine, Silverworks, Skirt! Magazine, Leadership Team for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, Bishop Museum, Unite Here Local 5, and YWCA of Anne Arundel County.


Please re-enter passcode: