Youth Development • Arts Education • Cultural Preservation • Community Building
Mele Murals utilizes a time tested process designed to empower and inspire youth. Our methodology has been used throughout the United States and internationally.
Youth form their own Halau Paheona (Mural Club) within their school or community center and begin organizing their mural and participating in online art assignments provided by The Estria Foundation. Assistance is given by cultural advisors who help ask the land and ancestors what should be painted.
Instructors from Papaku No Kameha‘ikana teach the youth how to write and say an oli (chant) about the subject matter. An advisory group of Hawaiian music experts, and cultural practitioners assist students to pair lyrics to the subject matter. Workshops are held on the song’s history, on how the mele relates to the mural’s location and content.
Haumana (students) ground and receive ideas for the mural. A sketch of the mural is developed by a team of artists based on the workshop dialogue and incorporating some of the lyrics. The team grounds and asks if the sketch is pono (just, proper) before painting.
Work begins at the mural site. The location and team are blessed by a kahu and painted by artists working together with the youth.
The mural is unveiled at a community celebration.
Youth muralists who have completed murals become Mele Murals docents and stewards, and mentors to future youth muralists.
The entire process is documented through photography, film, social media, and published materials.
The completed Mele Murals series provides opportunities for ongoing education, cultural tourism, and community development.
In addition, TEF will provide annual Orientations and Conferences. Orientations are 2-day intensive trainings on how to do a mural and is offered to newly formed Halau Paheona. Conferences are 3-days culminating in a day-long youth team battle. Halau Paheona across all the islands will meet and network, and receive advanced training from leaders in the field. At this time convenings, panel discussions, art shows and other events are being considered as well.