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The Contemporary Pacific 17.1 (2005) vii

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About the Artist

Photo by Monte Costa [View artist's work]

Meleanna Aluli Meyer was born and raised at Mōkapu, Kailua, on the windward side of the island of O'ahu. A Native Hawaiian, Meyer is a freelance visual artist and arts educator who works in an outreach capacity in various community settings throughout the islands. As a filmmaker, she has three documentaries to her credit. In 1978 she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in design and photography from Stanford University, winning the prestigious Borelli Arts prize while there. Meyer was mentored by renowned painter/printmaker Nathan Oliveira and also studied in Italy. She received her master's in educational foundations from the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa. Being a fellow of the East-West Center, Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute, and Salzburg Institute afforded Meyer opportunities to interface in national and international arenas regarding Hawaiian issues. The recipient of numerous awards, she has exhibited her work and films throughout Hawai'i; on the continent in New York, Tennessee, California, Illinois, and Washington DC; and abroad in Japan, Germany, France, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australia.

The paintings reflected in this series were inspired by oli (chant). Abstraction aligned with natural elements and stylized design express for Meyer critically important aspects of Hawaiian culture from which she draws inspiration. Issues of spirituality, relationship, identity, sovereignty, and love of the land are woven within these pieces. Meyer hopes that her work as an artist, filmmaker, and educator helps to build a community of Hawaiians who are pono—just and unified in their vision for restoration of the Hawaiian nation. From a Hawaiian worldview, she challenges her audience to make their own connections to nā mea Hawai'i (all things Hawaiian), to nā akua (the gods), to nā aumakua (the ancestors), and to an interior reflection of life that is richly compelling and within the viewer's grasp.

Photo by Monte Costa