Writer Lisa Kahaleole Hall and media artist Paul Kealoha Blake, director of the East Bay Media Center, set out to create a poetic video focusing on Bay Area artists of the Hawaiian Diaspora, exploring themes of home and displacement. Hawaiians have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1800s, yet the complexity of their culture is rarely represented in media.
Through their work together, the collaborators shifted the focus of “Home Away from Home: Hawaiian Diaspora in California.” It became a satirical critique of the category “Asian/Pacific Islander” that explored the significant cultural, political, and “racial” differences among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
During the project’s course, Hall faced the demoralizing and unexpected illness and death of her partner. Further, this project required more funding that provided by the Creative Work Fund. Thus, the partners scaled it back. Significant writing was developed and footage was shot, but the film was not yet complete at the time of their final reports in 2005.
Lisa Kahaleole Hall is a poet, performer, and academic who, through this project, developed new skills in visual media. She has presented readings of her work at bookstores, conferences, and cultural centers in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Boston, and London.
Based in a 4,000 square foot building in downtown Berkeley, the East Bay Media Center was founded to allow artists opportunities to develop the technical skills to shape and present their work through the media arts. The Center is committed to providing low-cost access to state-of-the-art production equipment, to assisting with post-production, to training diverse artists and community groups, and to developing venues where under-represented content can be shared with audiences.