Photographer Paulo Mendes Brings Light to Maui Youth

March 14, 2011, 10:19 AM HST
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By Katie McMillan

Inspired by Pablo Picasso’s use of light, Maui photographer Paulo Mendes has launched a creative arts and cultural program to inspire Maui’s youth. With the guidance of his hula teacher Kumu Kapono’ai, Mendes created a program that combines art and Hawaiian culture to teach youth about discovering their identity and protecting Hawaii’s precious natural resources.

Participants in Paulo Mendes's First Art and Culture Program

Already, images from his first youth project have been accepted into the prestigious Art Maui exhibition at The Maui Arts and Cultural Center. The images depict the youth appearing to hold Hawaiian words written with beams of light.

“My idea was to use writing and culture to give an important message and create an interest in the kids to learn photography. After the first project we completed, the youth now want me to teach them the basics of photography and film,” said Mendes.

Mendes is in the process of acquiring additional funding to continue this project and is launching a nonprofit organization. Proceeds from this project will go toward future youth projects, teaching them different mediums and skills to express ideas and thoughts.

These images will appear in Art Maui at The Maui Arts and Cultural Center


For more information, visit his BLOG at or you can reach him directly at [email protected]


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