The National AIDS Memorial honors Native Americans lost to AIDS with this special virtual exhibition of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which features 16-Quilt blocks that contain panels made to honor loved ones from the American Indian, Alaska Native, and the Native Hawaiian communities.
Through this virtual exhibition, part of the National AIDS Memorial’s ongoing 50-state virtual Quilt exhibition, we shared their stories, told through the surviving family, friends and lovers, who stitched together these panels of hope, healing and remembrance, to ensure their lives are always remembered through the power and beauty of the Quilt. Woven throughout the displays, visitors experienced the beautiful cultural symbols sewn into the panels that are representative of the Native community.
The Quilt is a powerful symbol of hope, healing, and remembrance. It is also a teaching tool that connects the story of AIDS, finding a cure, and helping in important prevention, awareness, and education efforts to tackle the growing rates of HIV infection in the U.S., particularly among communities of color.
Community partners for this exhibition include the Kua`aina Associates and Indian Health Services.
This symposium brought together Indigenous tattoo practitioners and cultural bearers from the Pacific and North America who are the forerunners in the revival of traditional cultural practices, providing an informative, engaging, and inspiring forum that celebrates the resurgence and resilience of Indigenous peoples and traditional tattooing practices.
Ancestral Ink was produced collaboratively by Kua’aina Associates and Broken Boxes Podcast, and artist Ian Kuali`i. Ancestral Ink was hosted on the campus of the Santa Fe Art Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie (Taskigi and Diné)
Britt Bradley (Algonquin, Hispanic and Irish American)
Jean Melesaine (Samoan)
Curated by Carolyn Melenani Kuali`i, Director of Kua`aina Associates
In April 2019, over 150 members of the San Francisco Bay Area Indigenous community came together to be photographed by three Indigenous photographers on the empty plinth where once stood the Early Days sculpture. A component of the Pioneer Monument, the sculpture was removed following unanimous votes by the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Arts Commission, Historic Preservation Committee and Board of Appeals in response to community objections to its racist and historically inaccurate depiction of an American Indian.
The resulting photographs bring light to each participant’s rich tribal and cultural diversity, contributions as members of the broader Bay Area community, and “Native Truth” that is rooted in countering discrimination, invisibility, and false narratives. During the photo shoot, the community stood together to honor the courageous ones who came before, and to acknowledge the historical narrative and circumstances that led them to be part of the American Indian Urban Experience.
This exhibition was part of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s American Indian Initiative which includes sixteen programs celebrating local Indigenous Peoples and highlighting significant cultural moments, including the 50th Anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz.
Artist Fellows: Adrienne Heloise, Mayumi Hamanaka, Kai Margarida-Ramirez de Arellano & Ian Kuali`i
This team of four cut-paper artists engaged in an artistic process inspired by cultural and historical phenomenon. Each artist came from different ethnic backgrounds; national origin and aesthetic style bringing to the project diversity of beliefs and practices—the dynamic foundation for this artistic convergence. In an installation experiment to explore their disparate cultural histories charting separate and intertwined chronologies through the context of universal and the sacred, and forging science and magic from multiple directions. Their individual practices entailed the use of hidden meanings within images and symbols, which was an interesting point of departure. The framework of their artistic collaboration allowed for the intersection of historical Identity and created a model for transmutation of past episodes and its effect on the present and how we might approach or look at the future.
The artists were fascinated by the ephemeral quality of paper and how it is much like the fleeting experience of human memories/stories and of life itself. The cutting of paper is a slow, deliberate, and often a solitary practice that lends itself to a magical qualityan alchemical process, speaking to the divine dichotomy of destruction and creation.
As collaborating partners, Kua`aina Associates along with the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco supported the artists through a year-long fellowship that included a two month residency at the museum. The artist's work was exhibited at the Galeria de la Raza in the San Francisco Mission District.
This artist residency involved thirteen artists (ages 21 to early 30s) from the following indigenous cultures: American Indian: Ojibwe, Navajo, Colville and Seneca; First Nations: Métis; Maori, Native Hawaiian, Tongan, Puerto Rican/Taíno and Chicano. These artists were selected based on their extraordinary skills at expressing their talents through artwork. Their work was influenced by the hip-hop subculture and/or socio-political commentary art and their commitment to the preservation of their cultures and people.
With a team of Native artists from an array of cultural backgrounds and artistic genres, Kua`aina designed a program to ensure that these emerging artists gained the mentorship and support for their continued success based on indigenous perspectives of learning. By doing this, each artist had the opportunity to examine and explore through lecture and active learning: indigenous approaches in design, understanding of the concept of indigenous visual sovereignty through an overview of “Contemporary Native Art History,” and comprehension of the language of “art criticism and theory” in order to verbally express their own work. Through professional development workshops, these artists explored entrepreneurship and the arts: to document their work and collaborate with galleries, to work with museum collections, and to utilize research methods. Our emerging artists gained a practical understanding of today’s art world, equipped with the tools to advance their art through an outreach program unbounded by conventional gallery walls.
This clip features the creative process and creation of the group mural that was created during the project. The mural was gifted to the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.
This clip also includes statements from the artists and the closing open studio event.
In 2013, Kua`aina, in partnership with the United Coalition to Protect Panhe, created a poster to raise awareness among Indigenous youth about the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). For this project the theme was, "What does the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples mean to you and your Nation?" A call for emerging indigenous artists was done and the result was the collaboration of four artists.
About the DRIP Youth Poster Image:
•The circular eagle feathers with the four directions symbol, represents the human race.
•The pelican has great cultural significance to many coastal California Indians and was chosen by the artists because the pelican is rarely used in Indian art.
•The stylized hands symbolize the care of "Our Heritage, Our Cultures, Our Future, and Our Responsibility" which are in our hands.
•The tattoo designs represent the diversity of indigenous peoples from a global community that has made California their home.
•The water designs are there to remind us that “water” is vital to all “living things” and without it we cannot survive.
•The other images in the poster are representative to the indigenous California Indians.
Poster Artists: Jose Gonzales - lead artist (Chicano), Anthony Sull (Rumsen Ohlone) & Joey Montoya (Mayan/Lipan Apache).
Graphic Artists: Jeremy Arviso (Navajo)
Project Staff: Carolyn Kuali`i, Project Director (Hawaiian/Apache) and Rico Miranda, Project Manager (Rumsen Ohlone).
The DRIP Youth Poster Campaign was made possible with the support of the Christensen Fund and the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Inc.
For the last quarter century the exchange of knowledge and perspectives has been the hallmark of the annual California Indian Conference (CIC). This Anniversary Celebration highlighted 25 years of achievements in California Indian cultural renewal and retrieval. The conference was held October 14 - 16, 2010 at the University of CA, Irvine (UCI) and attended by tribal leaders, elders, cultural bearers, museum administrators, California Parks personnel, environmentalists, educators from elementary schools, institutions of higher learning, independent scholars, private archaeologists, and students of California Indian studies. Kua`aina Associates facilitated the coordination of the conference programs and logistics.
This Naue Ka Hona (The earth shakes) - E ala mai ia Kihanuilulumoku (Kihanuilulumoku awakens) exhibit and its ancillary activities were produced by Kua`aina in collaboration with the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). The exhibit opened for public showing at the MACC’s Schaefer International Gallery from December 1 – 31, 2006. The project included two community forums (at the MACC and the Hana Cultural Center), which featured a panel of notable Hawaiian and Māori cultural practitioners and a `Aha Awa that was attended by leaders from the Ali`i Trusts and other Native Hawaiian organizations and federal, state and county government officials.
The title of the exhibit refers to Kihanuilülümoku, the god of earthquakes prior to the arrival of Pele and her family, who was a relative of Kihawahine the mo`o goddess of Maui. The awakening of Kihanuilülümoku represents the growing awareness of traditional Hawaiian thought.
Funded by Atherton Family Foundation, Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation, Hawai`i Tourism Authority/Maui County Product Enrichment Program and Papa Ola Lokahi.
Under a subcontract with American Indian Contemporary Arts, Kua`aina Associates provided the planning, coordination, and facilitation of two artists’ gatherings in 2006 in Northern and Southern California. The gatherings were designed to provide participating artists an opportunity to further their professional development through workshops on art and technology, art installation, the business of art, artwork documentation, and the creation of artist profiles. The gathering was open to Native artists of all traditional and contemporary art forms including printmakers, painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, silversmiths, writers, bead workers, digital storytellers, photographers, potters, weavers, dancers, musicians, actors, drum makers, singers, composers, and poets. In addition to the two artists’ gatherings, Kua`aina Associates designed and created the Neshkinukat’s 2007 Artists’ Directory in both print and web format. The production of the directory included over-site activities of the artists’ profiles and working with two associates – web designer and graphic artist.
Funded by the Ford Foundation
“I believe we are here on the planet Earth to live, grow up and do what we can to make this world a better place for all people to enjoy freedom.”
Twelve juniors from the Berkeley High School Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA) had the unique opportunity to be mentored by master printmaker, Emmanuel C. Montoya in the creation of a series of color linocut prints. These high school artists attended after-school studio instruction and off-campus activities. The objective was to create an opportunity for the students to create “art for the pubic”. Through a partnership with Rose Park’s Elementary School in West Berkley, CA—a low-income and cultural diverse community—the AHA students facilitated a brain storming session with the 5th grade students to formulate ideas for a series of linocut print designs inspired by Rosa Park’s quote. The AHA artists under the direction of Mr. Montoya also conducted a print workshop with the Rose Park 5th grade students to introduce them to the medium of printmaking. This project provided the AHA a real hands-on community participatory public art experience. The series of prints they created became a permanent installation at Rosa Park Elementary School for the West Berkeley community to enjoy and call their own.
“Juntos Creamos/Together We Create” is made possible by a grant from the San Francisco Foundation’s Koshland Program
AHA Artists: Breanna Bayba, Brian Casimiro, Johanna Greenspun,
Molly Rosentahal, Olver Barton, Sheril Kumar and Sophie Hartnett
"Honoring our Earth, Traditions and Ourselves"
Your donation will be used to support Kua`aina’s general operations and projects. 10% of Kua`aina’s revenue goes to our “Aloha an Artist” fund that provides honoraria to artists in need.