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Not all Backpacks Carry the Same Weight

I created this community art project addressing Youth Homelessness in Hawai'i. I have been volunteering with RYSE Hawai'i since 2018 and noticed the importance of backpacks for youth experiencing homelessness. It is how they move, carry their precious belongings, and make their status invisible to society. I saw the everyday use of backpacks in two youth groups as an opportunity to bridge a group of High School students and RYSE Hawai'i youth experiencing homelessness. I invited them to collaborate for two and a half months.


The project culminated with an art installation of 58 backpacks, demonstrating how these two groups indirectly collaborated on the youth homelessness crisis in Paradise. They never met. 

RYSE youth translated their reality and experiences while keeping their anonymity to protect them from being stigmatized, giving them a choice to keep control of their image. 

The High School students translated their perspectives about being young and homeless in Hawai'i as outsiders looking in on an issue about their demographic. 


The art process is documented and is part of the art project in a video photo collage. 

The Backpack becomes one of the tools used to engage in my community art practice. I plan to offer residencies centered on Backpacks to invite participants to share their perspectives on local, global, and social issues, bridging communities.


I am open to sharing this collaboration nationally and internationally.

Year: Started in 2023


Material:  Used Backpacks, appliqué, painting, embroidery and divers objects.

Indirect collaboration art process 2023

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