IN HER WORDS / The owner of Native Books/Na Mea Hawai’i, who is also involved in ii gallery in Kaka’ako, the Lana Lane Artists’ Studios and the Maoli Art in Real Time (MAiRT) movement, Maile Meyer works to make sure Hawaiian and local perspectives are represented. Meyer sat down with us to share her ideas in the first installment of an ongoing series that features cultural leaders in their own words.
“I am someone who’s supporting the creative process, creating space for a dialogue to happen. Everybody has their kuleana; it doesn’t matter who does it. It matters that it gets done. If you care, you have to do something, participate. If you don’t care, stay home, watch TV and bitch.
“I’m interested in creating access. Every child who sits at a table with paint and a brush is an artist. Everyone should be able to access art, it’s not demographically based. The presence of art means multi-variable thinking, and enough people creating art means you can have a dialogue, because art reveals a variety of opinions. That’s what we need more of here in Hawai’i, a dialogue. We need to be more critical of ourselves and to not take it personally–that will up the bar.
“Hawaiians are leading in Hawaiian ways again. We are not waiting. The hierarchical western style has gotten us where we are today–people saying they care about others, but really, they care about a few. That’s not the Hawaiian way. People should embrace Hawaiian leadership. It’s in our DNA to care for everyone. We don’t leave people out, and that’s been our historic pattern–inclusiveness. Look at the record. We included everyone and then we got left out.
“Well, the tide is turning, and we are on the move again as a people, with both Western and Hawaiian models to move between. It’s exciting and it’s real. Get ready. We’ve never left, and we’re remembering how to be in our own skin again. It’s gonna be great–for everyone.”