Every workshop is different. Every workshop spent in the Armory Court on behalf of Huraiti Mana is a different experience. They're each exciting and each a beautiful moment of community. Today, I returned to participate in the 5th Annual Seattle Children's Festival, Saturday, September 22, 2018. But no matter how many times we return to the Seattle Center with Northwest Folklife, I learn something new and amazing, whether it be the curiosities of children, the insight they have, the understanding they possess for their cultures and cultures not of their own in our storytelling workshops; or whether it be the cultural exchange shared among people of all walks of life in our kahiko and language workshops. I am so grateful to those who organize the many events Northwest Folklife creates year-round - all free, all jam-packed with cultural performances, and all the perfect family outing excursion. Mahalo nui loa for your community work and dedication to building our families in Seattle!
Over 100 community members packed into the small basement event space of the Elliot Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, September 19, to celebrate with Sharon H. Chang the launch of her newest book and first memoir, Hapa Tales and Other Lies. Sharon kindly invited me to perform opening and closing ceremonies as well as share a couple mele (specifically, a couple hula performances). This experience was powerful, inspirational, and fulfilling regarding womxn and femme power, a force of indigeneity, vulnerable sharing and deep cultural exchange, a multi-racial community's pains and triumphs, and a breath of fresh intellectual enlightenment and prosperity.
I feel so blessed to be in the company of greatness. Sharon's excerpts chosen in her book reading were equal parts eloquent and down-to-earth, simultaneously humorous and bluntly painful. Although she and I have very different relationships to Hawai'i - I being Native Hawaiian and she being mis-identified as such - I find my questions and emotions completely seamless with her own. For example, she questions the changes in expectations and justifications from having dark skin in the tropical places where she had grown up - she in California while I was on O'ahu - but now living as a light-skinned mixed person in cloudy Seattle. People treated us differently than when we had been growing up elsewhere. We have been identified, misidentified, claimed, and disowned and singled out. Where is home?
I can't wait to sit down and read voraciously through this memoir. Stars Marian Macapinlac, Selena Velasco, and Moonyeka feel the same. Marian's voice began the set of performances with sweet rock and roll - her voice echoing smooth melodies throughout the room. Selena's slam poetry piece with artistic interpretive dance moved me - her vulnerability is her strength; her body is her own, now. And so is mine. And Moonyeka smashed onstage with a super-chill-cool dance set and disturbingly great video montage. Watch them. These individuals, led by the community Sharon H. Chang is drawing together, will shake the world as we know it.
Mahalo nui loa to Sharon for the opportunity to share in such an incredible night I will always remember. Me ke aloha e ku'u 'ohana hou!
Event: Lei-Making Workshop
Date: Sunday, November 11, 2018
Time: 11:00AM - 1:30PM
Location: Wing Luke Museum 719 S King St, Seattle, WA 98104
Fresh flowers, fragrant greens, and endless results. Join us!
One of the four Pacific Islander artists featured in the Wing Luke Museum’s Visions of Pasifika Light from Another World, artist and lei-weaver Kalei'okalani will direct a 2.5-hour lei-making workshop with fresh lau and pua (leaves and flowers), woven together in the wili or wrap style at the Wing Luke Musuem in Seattle's Chinatown-International District.
Participants will learn about the significance of lei-making and how this Polynesian tradition is integral in the perpetuation of cultural values. This is a challenging exercise and is recommended for 12+. No experience necessary.
Lei are not simply decorative pieces; they share a spiritual connection with and are representative of the land they come from, the people who create them, and the people for whom they are made. Lei is a cultural, personal, and spiritual exchange of aloha (love), mana (spiritual power), and mana'o (knowledge). Learn about how lei-making strengthens our connections to the land and to each other. Share in company, stories, and laughter in this labor of love.
What to bring:
Sharon H. Chang is an award-winning renowned activist, author, and photographer whose works and perspective shed light and insight on the racial relations of the Asian American and Pacific Islander diaspora. Her first publication, Raising Mixed Race: Multiracial Asian Children In a Post-Racial World, is a critically acclaimed academic work focusing on the contradictorily underrepresented children of color that make up the vast majority of the under-5 population. Now, she's launching her first memoir book Hapa Tales and Other Lies, a beautifully woven story of mis-identity, hidden histories, and a search and understanding of home. For this highly anticipated work, Sharon, in her usual fashion, has curated together a community-collaborative, which, by sheer power of community, features many artists with whom Huraiti Mana has performed across the Asian American, Womxn/femme, Pacific Islander, women of color, and social justice art activist scene.
Huraiti Mana (Kalei'okalani) last collaborated and shared the breath of life with Selena Velasco for the Wing Luke Museum's Visions of Pasifika exhibit and with Moonyeka as a peer teaching artist for Arts Corps. Alongside the amazing performance artist Selena, dance artist Moonyeka, and musician Marian Macapinlac, Kalei'okalani of Huraiti Mana will be performing hula and sharing ceremonial oli as a part of Sharon's book launch and opening.
Join us for an amazing conversation about the complex identities of, in, and with Hawai'i that so many people share in so many different ways. We are so incredibly honored for this amazing opportunity to participate with our community of "Pacific Islander, Indigenous, Asian Am, and Mixed Race womxn/femme performers" and with Sharon H. Chang; her brilliance is an inspiration to us all, and her leadership drives a path for our voices and our stories.
Huraiti Mana is looking for Tahitian drummers to join or partner with us as we continue our journey as one of Seattle's newest Polynesian dance troupes. We're looking for the following drummer talents and leads including but not limited to:
If you are interested or know of groups that may be interested, please contact Kalei at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mauruuru roa!
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