University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Documentary MELE MURALS & Director Tadashi Nakamura

Saturday, November 11, 2017
2:00pm – 4:00pm

Storrs Campus
Student Union Theatre

MELE MURALS centers on two renowned Native Hawaiian street artists, Estria Miyashiro and John ‘Prime’ Hina, as they travel from urban Honolulu to begin an outdoor mural project with Kanu O Ka ʻĀina, a school in rural Waimea. Despite their immense talents and positive intentions, they find that mural-making is not so simple as local teacher Aunty Pua Case raises concerns over the visual representations of their sacred subjects. Estria and Prime realize the necessity to get this project right, and together with the dedicated students and community, they create a breathtaking three-walled mural telling the story of three Hawaiian mele (song or chant) and rediscover their own identities and responsibilities as Native Hawaiian artists.

More substantial than a showcase of Hawaiian graffiti art, MELE MURALS is a visually striking, emotionally touching feature that unexpectedly captures the compelling possibilities of street art to preserve Native Hawaiian culture and identity. For Prime and Estria and for many young folks, hip hop is a resistant artform and replacement for not knowing one’s own culture. By highlighting the role of art and culture in reclaiming that lack of knowing is a contestation of the U.S. colonial legacy of Hawaiʻi. Tadashi Nakamura’s MELE MURALS defiantly illustrates that Hawaiʻi is not a tourist paradise, not a strategic military site, but the home of a creative and vibrant indigenous community fighting for self-determination while preserving a way of living for future generations.

— Sumiko Braun, for the 2017 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

This event is free and open to the public.


Asian American Cultural Center (primary), UConn Master Calendar

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