Transcending Cultural Stigma Through Art

»» A multi-national project that explored forced displacement, culture, identity, and resiliency in the Marshallese diaspora

This UK-funded research project looked at the ways in which the arts can be used to explore experiences of displacement, belonging, and identity of young Marshall Islanders — both in the Marshall Islands and in Hawai‘i. In addition to mural painting, the project team conducted poetry workshops and photo walks with the children. These hands-on art activities were led by three artists: Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, a Marshallese poet and activist; Solomon Enos, a Native Hawaiian multimedia artist; and Christine Germano, a Canadian educator and photographer.

Pu‘uhonua Society served as one of the project’s Hawai‘i-based community liaison and managed artist Solomon Enos, as a key project contributor. Enos led a series of school workshops to develop community murals in Majuro and Ejit (Marshall Islands) and at Central Middle School (Honolulu, Hawai‘i). He also illustrated a graphic novel based on two traditional Marshallese stories, a poem by Marshallese author/activist Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, and his own experiences with the project team in the Marshall Islands. Pu‘uhonua Society also provided image production and book design services for the graphic novel.

This project was made possible by:
UK funding from the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Research led by the University of Edinburgh