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 production and publication support for the book.

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