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Making murals in the Marshall Islands and Hawai’i: An exploration of the possibilities and limits of artistic agency in a community arts education project

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-87
Number of pages17
JournalCrossings: Journal of Migration and Culture
Issue number1
Early online date1 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


This article explores the painting of two murals as part of a community arts education project aimed at understanding Marshallese children’s experiences of displacement and belonging. It describes the process and outcome of mural making workshops conducted in two schools: one in Honolulu attended by migrant Marshallese children; the other with a community of Marshall Islanders, internally displaced as a result of the effects of nuclear testing on their home atoll. Engaging with anthropological approaches to art (Gell 1998; Schacter 2014), the article seeks to address important questions around the agency of these murals in the context of community arts education. What do these murals do, both in the process of coming into being, and as finished products? How did the images depicted on them take shape? In what ways were the artist’s intentions, and the children’s input, enabled and limited in this process? Paying detailed attention to these questions, the article argues for a nuanced understanding of what a successful community mural-making process might look like.

    Research areas

  • community arts education, Marshall Islands, displacement, nuclear legacy, artistic agency

ID: 79633811