SMALL TOWN * BIG ART welcomes Maui-based artist Sachelle Dae, art unveiling June 30
Wailuku’s creative placemaking program, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART (ST*BA), announces its latest public art collaboration, the 23rd ST*BA project aimed to share stories of distinctive sense of place, history, and culture.
In June 2022, Maui-based artist Sachelle Dae will present a collection of three oil paintings inspired by two talk story recordings. A public, outdoor unveiling and blessing will be held on Thursday, June 30 at 4:30 p.m. at First Hawaiian Bank Wailuku Branch, to be led by Uncle Bill Garcia.
The recordings were gathered as part of the 2021 ST*BA storytelling exchange in a process stimulated by artist Leilehua Yuen. Dae’s work is inspired by authentic moments of connection captured during the open talk story sessions.
The first piece of inspiration is a talk story session between Anuhea Yagi, student of Hawaiian Life Ways and Roselle Bailey, Kumu Hula, KaʻImi Naʻauao O Hawaiʻi Nei Institute; and the second is a session between Kalapana Kollars, Hawaiian Cultural Programs Director, Lahaina Restoration Foundation and Wallette Pellegrino, Host of “Preserving Our Recollections” Oral History TV Program for University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.
Dae chose the two talks given their contrast of immateriality and materiality, concepts that mesh well with her background in classical realism painting with fantastical and abstract elements, according to a ST*BA news release.
According to Dae, the first and last painting will investigate kumu Roselle Bailey’s mana’o on Oli, as well as pay homage to the original way of record-keeping in Hawai’i through Oli.
In the talk story session, Bailey reflects on intention. “This is the most important – the intention – it affects what will come out of your voice,” said Bailey.
The second painting will delve into Wallette Pellegrino’s memory of old Wailuku town and represent remnants of the town’s history.
“I was born and raised right in Wailuku. I could probably name for you all or many of the stores or people who lived in the neighborhood,” said Pellegrino. “Much of what you see today, really, they are actually remnants of what Wailuku was like when I lived there and played there.”
Closely following the work of ST*BA, Dae was driven to participate in the community and place-based artistic process. Dae is working with the ST*BA team to identify a proverb that connects her compositions to Wailuku’s sense of place and is participating in a series of online community consultations to help develop overall design.
“Working with ST*BA has been a very unique experience in that you are truly listening to community members and what they bring to the table,” said Dae. “I’ve been energized and touched by the memories and knowledge that’s been shared with me, and I hope to create a reflection of woven images that we can all relate to and see ourselves as part of.”
Dae’s paintings will be scanned, super-sized, and temporarily exhibited facing Market Street at the First Hawaiian Bank Wailuku Branch (27 North Market Street) for a 60-day run beginning June 21. A traditional blessing, unveiling, and spoken word performance by Anuhea Yagi will be held at the courtyard area adjacent to the Bank entrance on Thursday, June 30 at 4:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
The exhibit area will eventually connect to a new walkway surrounding the Wailuku municipal parking lot, which features the work of ST*BA’s former Mana Wahine project. Not only will Dae’s pieces become a valuable extension of this work, but First Hawaiian Bank’s new Senior Vice President & Retail Banking Regional Manager Lisa Tomihama, who is the first female in this position, has offered to host this installation, recognizing the Mana Wahine connection.
“First Hawaiian Bank is proud to partner with this arts and culture initiative,” said Tomihama. “In listening to the talk story recordings between Anuhea Yagi, Roselle Bailey, Kalapana Kollars, and Wallette Pellegrino, I could feel the special sense of place for Wailuku and relate to the inspiration for Sachelle’s new exhibit. I am humbled and honored to exhibit Sachelle’s work at our historic Wailuku Branch and to partner with the extraordinary ‘Mana Wahine’ that have created art for this space.”
Professional artist Sachelle Dae is a recipient of the State Foundation on Culture and The Arts Acquisition Award and has recently had her work exhibited at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum. She was also a part of Hawaiʻi’s statewide 2022 Schaefer Portrait Challenge. Dae also has extensive experience teaching art to children and young adults.
For updates on the project, and to learn more about Sachelle Dae, visit www.smalltownbig.org/dae
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