Oceans of Reflection

Community Mural Project

What is a Community Mural? Our Inspiration | Advisory Board Map

The ʻUlu Disaster Response Series (‘Ulu DRS), a component of the lab’s Native Hawaiian Cultural Anchoring initiatives, drew inspiration from the mural “Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha: Beloved Land, Beloved Country.” The Community Mural Project’s objective is to extrapolate lessons learned from ʻUlu DRS, centered around “Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha,” and apply them to a new mural, “Oceans of Reflection,” to the story of Hawaiʻi’s Micronesian Community, much like “Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha” tells the story of Native Hawaiians.

The significance of this connection lies in recognizing a disaster not just as an external event like a typhoon or a pandemic but also as something affecting the internal home – one’s body and spirit. Feeling unsafe in any version of home can drive a need for connection, potentially leading to substance use as a coping mechanism. This is particularly relevant for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders who may experience a void due to the loss of land connection and cultural practices. For Micronesians in Hawai‘i, additional challenges arise from added layers of discrimination and racism while adapting to a new home away from their own.

Art, as a powerful tool for processing feelings of unsafety and fostering connection, takes center stage in the “Oceans of Reflection” project. By bringing together community elders and artists in culturally-centered storytelling and mural creation, the project aims to empower Micronesians to see themselves as an integral part of their new home. Beyond this, the mural seeks to reveal cultural parallels to the people of Hawai’i, weaving origin stories across the islands to evoke inherent energies of resilience and strength and avert substance misuse.

What is a Community Mural?

CHARACTERISTICS
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PURPOSE OF TRAVELING WITH A COMMUNITY MURAL
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OUTCOMES OF TRAVELING WITH A COMMUNITY MURAL 
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Our Inspiration

On Sep 8, 2013: Five days in August at Camp Mokuleʻia, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. Six artists, several alakaʻi, family and kokua, gather for a spiritual ceremony in Art. A healing ceremony. A celebration of culture, heritage and our future. Who are we? We are Hawaiian. We are alive. And we are still here.

Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha Mural Project (2013)

“Beloved Land, Beloved Country”

Part of the cultural safety of the training was engagement of the life force within the humanitarian relationship to imagery, prayer, and each other. Each webinar makes space to hear from artist and aunty Meleanna Meyer, who highlights a particular kiʻi – picture/retrieval device – that is part of a mural completed in 2013, Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha: Kuʻu ʻĀina Aloha: Beloved Land, Beloved Country. These concepts, accompanied by pule, link us to the spiritual tools needed to prepare for natural disasters. The Māpuna Lab bows deeply in gratitude to Meleanna Meyer, Al Lagunero, Harinani Orme, Kahi Ching, Carl F.K. Pao and Solomon Enos, the artists who created the mural shared throughout our series, for their contributions to the medicine of this work.

Our Advisory Board

Innocenta Sound-Kikku

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Tamana Poli

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Meleanna Meyers

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Kuʻulei Kanahele

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Kākuhihewa

(c. 1540-1634)

Kākuhihewa is the 15th aliʻi ‘aimoku (ruling chief) of O‘ahu famously named in the mele “Kaulana Nā Pua.” Kākuhihewa was a kind and friendly chief who was born in Kūkaniloko and raised in the ‘Ewa moku. His primary endeavor was farming, and it is said that his abundant harvests on O‘ahu could be smelled from Kaua‘i.

Today, there is a state office building named after him in Kapolei.