This past October, I was blessed with the opportunity to sit down in Honolulu, Hawaii with the internationally renowned artist, social activist, and steward of the land, Estria Miyashiro. Estria’s organization, the Estria Foundation, raises awareness on critical environmental and human issues through public art. Using art, education, and meditation practices, he empowers high school students in Oahu by educating them about their Hawaiian history, culture, and responsibility to protect the land and each other from the soul-killing forces of colonization and Imperialism.
The interview spanned the topics of Hip-Hop culture, American Imperialism, and the spiritual connection to the land. After the interview, Estria and I sat down at one of the best ramen places I’ve ever experienced and we spent some time meditating at a local beach. It was a truly empowering experience. Here’s a quote from the interview,
If we look more in terms of energy and less in terms of this physical reality, creativity is that which alters things, you know? And I find that you can change the reality. You can change the fabric of things. You can change the flow of energy. You can do so much more just using that creativity, so the art is just one physical manifestation of it. It can be music or any other creative thing, but you can create a new future. You can paint a future, you know?
This idea of altering reality and consciously creating a new future came up repeatedly in our conversation, as did the idea of not being able to do so if one is not attached to his or her roots and history. As beautiful as the Hawaiian Islands are, I felt a deep sadness at the fact that capitalism and American Imperialism has damaged the physical, spiritual, and emotional landscape. Despite the damage however, Estria’s work is turing the tides and empowering the younger generation to heal each other and the beautiful physical landscape of Hawaii. I want to thank Estria for showing me how creativity and the arts to renew the land and empower the people. Art truly is power. Mahalo