Friday, June 15, 2012

The Hui No’eau Maui Mural Project: Preliminary Sketches!

Preliminary sketches of the 2012 Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center Maui Mural Project, by Hui Artist-in-Residence Shira Walinsky (July 2012):

Six months ago, Hui No‘eau was introduced to 2 exemplary artists through the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Shira Walinsky & Eric Okdeh. Launched by 1984 Mayor Wilson Goode to eradicate the graffiti crisis plaguing the city, this “Anti-Graffiti Network,” as it was then known, hired the services of muralist Jane Golden to reach out to graffiti writers and to redirect their energies from destructive graffiti writing to constructive mural painting. 28 years later, Jane and her team have produced over 3,000 murals that have become a cherished part of the civic landscape and a great source of inspiration to the millions of residents and visitors who encounter them each year. Each piece is its own stunning work of art, but most importantly, they are visual products of a powerful and collaborative grassroots process that gives neighborhood residents a voice to tell their individual and collective stories, a way to pass on culture and tradition, and a vehicle to develop and empower local leaders. The process also engages thousands of Philadelphia’s at-risk children, youth, and adults who find their artistic voice, develop their self-confidence, and discover new ambitions while creating murals through numerous programs.

Over the course of the last 3 years, Hui No`eau has piloted its own mural arts program with partners including Kalama Intermediate School, Baldwin High School, 2010 Artist-in-Residence Orlando Reyes, and 2011 Visiting Artist Prime of the Oahu-based nonprofit 808 Urban. Upon meeting Jane late last year (after many years of hearing about her work), we became inspired to formalize our mural arts curriculum and seek grant support to invite artists from the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to Maui to share their toolbox for community organizing and artistic leadership. And now, in just 3 short weeks, we will welcome the first of 2 Philadelphia muralists: Shira Walinsky, who has been working with Maui representatives to design a large-scale public art mural that will reflect, inspire and represent our community. (Read more).

Past projects like the 2010 Politics of Paper/ Many Stories, Many Voices Artist-in-Residence program with Favianna Rodriguez and Orlando Reyes stressed a programmatic approach of creating art with emphasis on group dialogue, planning, and collaboration rather than individual creativity. The 2011 Ho‘ololi Artist-in-Residence program with “Stickwork” artist Patrick Dougherty used the visual arts to bring attention to the destructive potential of invasive plants- engaging both the Hui’s arts community as well as those interested in Hawai’i’s ecology and environmental stewardship. The 2012 Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center Maui Mural Project will specifically engage the larger community to develop a unified message through the language of art. By engaging the public in the research, planning and execution of the work, these public art programs allow the Hui to use the arts as a catalyst for building community.

Tell us what you think!

Shira has been chatting with Mauians for the past few months in an effort to brainstorm on her mural content. The questions that have been posed to our community are as follows:

1) What creates a sense of "home" for you here?
2) What would/ could make Maui "better" (whatever that means to you)
3) What is it that makes Maui "Maui"?

Take a look at some of the responses below & please send us some of your own.

1) What creates a sense of "home" for you here?
  • Safe neighborhoods.  People caring for one another.  Culture and arts that thrive.  An environment which reflects people who care about health and beauty, that is practical.
  • Natural beauty
  • A distinctive & comforting culture that is unlike anywhere else in the world
  • There is no such thing as I only we- modern Hawaiians straddle being in two cultures- find a balance between what elders have passed down and life in the present. Contemporary Hawaiians reach into the past

2) What would/ could make Maui "better"
  • If someone could do something about the rampant racial/ethnic prejudice that is here and no one wants to talk about.
  • LESS JUDGEMENT between the different types of people.
  • Respect the Hawaiian traditions and learn from their wisdom.
  • More venues to include older people
  • More venues, events, clubs
  • To stop burning cane!
3) What is it that makes Maui "Maui"?
  • This precipice we’re living on where everything is about to change (e.g. Olowalu, Makena)
  • Kapuna the old ways
  • Mix of cultures: Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, cultures, festivals and rituals, obon dance, kimono, Poi performances, family get togethers colorful connecting the past and the present 
  • Maui is a mixture of rural and urban life. You are a part of your environment - able to interact with the city and be very connected to the environment mountains parks, the ocean…Island mentality: you must make things work together... its 3,000 miles to go anywhere else. People help each other depend on one another- importance of networks
  • The relationship to the island that sustains and relationships with the community- ocean that feed you- connection to land and water- Maui means a network of relationships
  • new technologies windmills, use of sea water, the importance of the ocean
  • Green!  Green growing things everywhere all the time!  yay....
  • the country living.
  • The local agriculture, the whales!, the wonderful culture and artistic expressions that abound here, and making use of the wind.
  • The friendliness.
  • Maui seems for some reason easier to live a “conscious” life.. fewer outer distractions. Ex. Less traffic, less noise, less violence, less poverty... or at least it seems that way.
  • I think that the fact that we are surrounded by water infects us all. - i DO mean infect - it gets in  under our skin. Even if you don't play in the water at all.  It is the smell in the air, it is in the condensation of clouds, It is in the reflection of the sky,..the kind of plants that grow near the ocean.
  • an edgy paradise with all kinds of cultures coming together to inform each other with their particular way of showing reverence to nature.
Special thanks to the following for taking the time to share a piece of themselves with our mural team:

Hokulani Holt, Cultural Programs Director, Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Rae Takemoto, Vice Principal, Pomaikai Elementary School
Kahulu Maluo, Halau Kumu & Arts Administrator, Maui Arts & Cultural Center
Paul Wood, Writer-Teacher extraordinaire
Priscilla Mikell, Kamehameha Schools Maui
Nancy Aleck, Executive Director, Hawai‘i People's Fund
Jen Russo, Maui Time Weekly
Robin Curammeng, Art Teacher, Maui High School
Scott Fisher, Director of Conservation, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Michael Moore, Owner & Mastermind of Star Noodle, Old Lahaina Luau and Leoda's Kitchen

Other ways to get involved:

TEEN MURAL INTENSIVE with Artist-in-Residence Shira Walinsky – July 7 & 8 / 10 am – 4 pm
Students will explore a range of portrait possibilities using photography & collage, then enlarge images using traditional mural making techniques.

“TEACH THE TEACHERS” PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT with Artist-in-Residence Shira Walinsky – July 11 / 10 am – 4 pm
Teachers will discover the powerful educational components of mural making and come away with new tools for engagement and a mural arts curriculum by an experienced professional.

MURAL ARTS WORKSHOP with Artist-in-Residence Shira Walinsky – July 14 / 10 am – 4 pm
Participants will develop into mural artists for a day, putting their mark on this historic piece of public art and joining the team that helps transform a Maui space.

PANEL DISCUSSION with Artist-in-Residence Shira Walinsky & Friends – July 19 (6 – 7 pm)
Join us for an informative presentation by Shira and group panel discussion about the impact of community engagement through public works of art and mural making. Contribute your thoughts as we discuss the challenges and applications of art as a tool for social empowerment and change.

Check our website for regular updates

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