Students in Maile's visual Arts class at Moloka'i Middle School. when the project began in 2015.
The Giving Tree inspired this performance arts camp in 2015. It was second of over a dozen youth art camps offered since then by Maile Naehu.
Maile Naehu is an educator in areas such as 'Olelo Hawai'i, Creative writing,Performing Arts, Slam Poetry and Visual Arts. In all of her instruction she embeds the Hawaiian language, storytelling and value system. Her resume includes being a graduate of UH-Manoa, Kamakakuokalani, with a B.A in Hawaiian studies, 6 years as a kumu at Punana Leo and Kula Kaiapuni, followed by 6 years with Kamehameha schools, and most recently in the last 6 years as an entrepreneur and can be contracted a community organizer, performer and artist.
After working with Molokai youth for nearly a decade Maile Naehu saw amazing potential and creative energy from the youth, but they were simply lacking an art community or venue to nurture their interests. This is when in Fall 2014 Maile Naehu began offering after school art classes in visual arts and Slam Poetry. The group began with five middle school students and through them something began. For the first time, Molokai experienced Slam Poetry and visual arts in an environment that applauded individualism, freedom of expression, and a safe space for youth to tell their stories. This very idea planted the seed to grow a project that provided the chance to build and encourage a new generation of storytellers.This was the beginnings of the Moloka'inuiahina Project founded and directed by Maile.
This piece was done in Maile's first after school visual arts class . Kapili'ula Naehu-Ramos created this collage depicting opposite energies.
This is a video of Kapili'ula Naehu one of the slam poetry students in Maile's first after school Slam class in 2015.
In Fall 2015 the mission continued and Maile diligently sought funding to bring five master artists to Molokai to meet their slowly growing mural team. The free after school classes for art and Slam also continued to be offered and was extended to not just the middle school, but the entire Molokai Community. Maile also visited as many 6th-8th grade students as possible during school hours to share the story of the precursor mural, "The Keawanui Mural”, in order to spark interests and recruit more youth and Molokai artists to join our mural team. The mural team continued to grow through the classes, workshops, and in-school visits. In October 2015 Meleanna Meyer came to meet the team at Keawanui for a one day workshop. There, we all began to discuss what the larger mural would entail. She also taught introductory art concepts and emphasized the importance of storytelling through art. On this day, the team had its initial meeting of all generations together experiencing art as a communal family of creators in one space, the space that would be their home for an entire week of the Mural project.
In February 2016, one month before the mural, our Slam students competed at the state level and we hosted another free workshop for the mural team and the island community. This time we brought in story tellers in the form of Hip hop and spoken word. One of our master mural artists even came to participate and spend more time getting to know our youth! The mediums of storytelling were expanding and the interests in this community of great stories began to ignite.
Keawanui Mural Project
Highlights of the creative process of the Keawanui Mural in May of 2015. It was the precursor to the Moloka'inuiahina Mural project.
Maile's art students brainstorm and begin to draft ideas for their pieces.
Molokai Nui a Hina Mural team
Ruhi Moran- Film maker/media
Master Artists :
Stephen Koa Kakaio
Tanya Maile Naehu
Kala'e Ritte Tangonan
Moloka'inuiahina Mural Project
During the Spring break of 2016 The Molokai Nui a Hina Mural happened. The mural project was done over the course of the Spring break of 2016. The group that eventually produced this mural included one Molokai kūpuna, five master artists from Oʻahu, three Molokai artists, and sixteen Molokai youth from local schools. The master artists who mentored the largely-untapped, talented artists of Molokai were Meleanna Meyer, Harinani Orme, Al Lagunero, Solomon Enos, and Kahi Ching. These artists have a proven history in creating permanent, world-class murals, such as at the Sheraton Helumoa- Waikiki, Hawaiʻi Convention Center- Kaupa, Kalipi Stream- Camp Mokuleia, and the Bishop Museumʻs Pacific Hall. Our team of 28 made up of multi-generational artists lived together for 7 days and 7 nights at Keawanui Fishpond on the East side of Molokai. During that week the youth were frontloaded with many mo’olelo of Molokai that displayed the importance of Aloha Aina and how the Molokai community has always been one of storytellers, problem solvers, and protectors. They also became immersed in art techniques and concepts which were taught by all the masters and all were involved at every level and step of the process. During the seven days we prepared our stories, concepts, and images and sharpened our artistic practices. We integrated hula and oli to emphasize the importance of showing mahalo everyday. But most importantly, a new generation of storytellers was born. The mural was complete.