The Estria Foundation (TEF) is a non-profit organization that strives to create social change through the creation of art. Founded in 2010 by Estria Miyashiro and Jeremy LaTrasse, TEF is dedicated to raising awareness and empowering local communities to resolve human and environmental issues.
One of the foundation’s defining pillars – Mele Murals – was launched in 2013 as a youth development, arts education, cultural preservation, and community-building project. Local artists, youth, and community memberse are provided an outdoor canvas to create large-scale murals that focus on Hawaiian lyrics (mele) that explore mo`olelo `aina (stories of place) and cultural and historical heritage.
The Estria Foundation’s website describes the efforts of Mele Murals as a way to honor the last commands of King David Kalakaua, “Look to the keiki, teach them, groom them, show them wonder, and inspire them.” Mele Murals affords a platform to teach young people to become storytellers, painters, and community leaders.
“Murals are transformative, instantly adding color, beauty, and life to public spaces. Muralism changes lives and strengthens the fabric of a community as people are enabled to explore their artistic voice and beautify their own neighborhoods. The muralism process also passes along local culture and tradition, and develops new leaders. When completed with community and historical content, murals become local monuments and a source of community pride.
Hawaiian music is honest. It celebrates connection to the land, chronicles traditions and stories, and binds Hawaii’s people together with the past and the future. During the workshops Mele Murals explores the meaning and kaona (hidden meaning) of songs and chants in the context of past and present community issues.”
The Estria Foundation is seeking support in every form – financial, as well as introductions to art educators, high schools, youth organizations, cultural practitioners, and corporate sponsors.
If you are interested in donating your wall for a Mele Mural Project, please visit: estria.org/get-involved/offer-your-wall