Hawaii students, artists tapped to show what an aloha-based economy is

Special to The Hawaii Independent

HONOLULU—A Hawaiiana-inspired community mural project and engagement program has been funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). Titled “Hawai’i Loa Ku Like Kakou” (Hawai’i Kakou), the project aims to create a visual response to the gathering of world economies in Hawai’i.

Five native Hawaiian artists and a group of young Hawaiian artists from public, private, and charter schools will be painting an eighty-foot mural on view at the Hawaii Convention Center.

“The mural’s creation gives Hawaiians and indigenous people a visual voice,” says artist and mural organizer Meleanna Meyer. “We can interpret ourselves, as Hawaiian artists. We don’t need intermediaries. OHA is giving us a chance to articulate for the world and ourselves, what an aloha-based economy is.”

“We must find ourselves in each other, recognizing each other as family and not strangers.”

Along with Meyer, Solomon Enos, Kahi Ching, Harinani Orme and Al Lagunero will be joining middle school and high school artists from Kamakau Public Charter School, Roosevelt High School, Moanalua, Punahou, Kamehameha, Kapolei High School, Pearl City High School, Anuenue, and Ha’akipu Learning Center to paint the mural from October 5 through October 11. The Mural will be painted on site at the Hawaii Convention Center in Waikiki. The mural will measure 6 feet by approximately 80 feet, when it is completed.

Collection on elements for the mural is underway. Focused efforts on gathering ideas from the Hawaiian community will take place at the Hawaiian Convention being held at the Convention Center on August 23.

The mural will also include messaging, icons, symbols, and visual interpretations that join many of the common elements of indigenous economies throughout Asia and the Pacific.

“The hope is that everyone who views the mural will feel, in some way, included in it,” says Maile Meyer, sister of artist Meleanna and another of the principal organizers of the Hawai’i Kakou mural project. “We must find ourselves in each other, recognizing each other as family and not strangers. ... When the mural is completed, what we learned will be shared in various communication medium including social networking and blogging, film and video, print and magazines, curriculum materials, and community posters. We want to share a Hawaiian message, and this mural is the start.”