Melinie Melelani Perry
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Melelani has always known she was an artist. There was never a time she cannot remember drawing or creating. In middle school she attended an academy for artistically gifted children. In high school she studied with locally renowned artist, Chuck Naasz. From there, she went on to study fine art at Western Washington University in the hopes of becoming an illustrator of children’s books. Instead, she met and married her husband, Karl, and went on to raise two children at which time she left her paints neatly stacked in the closet until 2009.
Determined to let the artist in her free, she enrolled in a college class with Jesse Watson, a portrait artist and illustrator of books for children. She completed her first portrait in class and fell in love with painting the human form. . She has won Best in Show and First Place in local juried art shows and has had many solo exhibits.
Her primary passions in life are her faith, her family, painting, and Kaua’i. She believes that there is a God given beauty in the faces of people and strives to show that in her work.
Melelani’s parents started traveling to Kaua’i when she was very young and would return from their travels with stories of the beautiful people there. The history and culture of Hawai’i intrigued her and she started traveling to the island of Kaua’i in 1981, and joined a Washinton hula halau in 1999. She has been dancing and performing hula with her halau around the Olympic Peninsula and Seattle for the last 16 years. She was given the name, Melelani, by her hula instructor of Oahu. She was told to strive to reflect the meaning of her name: to always dance with grace given from God. Through daily life and through her dance, she reflects the heaven(ly) music. Many of her portraits are of people dancing hula both in Washington and Kaua’i. Hula is the language of the Hawaiian people and when done properly is spoken not only with the hands and feet but also with the face and eyes. There are so many stories yet to be told in the faces of the beautiful people of the Hawaiian Islands.
Melelani divides her time between life with her husband, Kark, in Port Ludlow, Washington, and travelling with her mother to visit family on Kaua’i. Her two children and 3 grandchildren live nearby in Washington, and her father and step-mother live in Lihu’e, Kaua’i.