El Camino College Union

Student artist’s mural celebrates compassion, support and excellence of El Camino College

Haruka+Kanemura+poses+for+a+photo+with+her+mother+after+the+mural+reveal+ceremony+ended.+Photo+credit%3A+Faith+Petrie
Haruka Kanemura poses for a photo with her mother after the mural reveal ceremony ended. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

Haruka Kanemura poses for a photo with her mother after the mural reveal ceremony ended. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

Haruka Kanemura poses for a photo with her mother after the mural reveal ceremony ended. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

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El Camino College student artist Haruka Kanemura and her team of artists were celebrated today, May 22, during the reveal of her mural in the Student Activities Center East Lounge.

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The hands featured on the mural all represented different things: the pink hands represented compassion, yellow support and blue excellence. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

Students, faculty, and staff spoke about the year and a half long process of creating the mural from start to finish.

The mural “could not have been possible” without the help of people including Director of Student Development Greg Toya and Associated Student Organization President Tiffany Ushijima, Rudi Lopez, administrative assistant for the Student Development Office said during his speech.

Toya was the master of ceremonies who introduced all of the speakers, one including El Camino College President Dena Maloney who thanked Kanemura and her team for all of their hard work.

Next to take the stage was Ushijima who commemorated Kanemura and those who helped her for their commitment to the project. She noted how they would “spend a lot of hours and Fridays” working on the project and she appreciated the mural because it was created “for the students, by the students.”

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Associated Student Organization President Tiffany Ushijima thanked Haruka Kanemura for the mural that was created "for the students, by the students." Photo credit: Faith Petrie

Lopez explained how the idea to have a campus mural was birthed in January 2017 during a Student Development Office and he thought Kanemura’s design was just right for the project.

“Thank you for your vision,” Lopez said to Kanemura during his speech.

Lopez recognized that Kanemura’s “quiet leadership (and) quiet strength” made her the perfect person to execute the mural.

Kanemura thanked everyone involved with making the mural possible and although painting is not her usual medium, she took the challenge of creating a mural head on.

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Haruka Kanemura and her team of muralists began the process of creating the mural over a year ago. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

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Those that helped Haruka Kanemura with her mural were sat in the front row during the ceremony. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

“I usually work on a very small scale,” Kanemura said. “(I) had to be bold,” she said during her speech.

When she was younger Kanemura said she would hide her drawings because she was “embarrassed” but learned to be confident in her art. During her journey of creating the mural, Kanemura said she learned not only how to lead but to also be assertive in her decisions.

Kanemura extended her thanks to her mural team and said she was “so proud” of how “talented, generous, and hardworking” they were.

To Kanemura, the mural represented the diversity that El Camino College holds, not only in terms of race but also attributes like age, cultural backgrounds and purposes of being at El Camino College.

“I have heard many unique stories of many individuals but we all unite as El Camino College students at the end,” Kanemura said during her speech.

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Haruka Kanemura spoke with Torrance CitiCABLE news after the mural reveal ceremony had ended. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

The different colored hands depicted in the mural symbolized different things that she explained during her speech. The pink hands represented compassion.

“When I first came on this campus I met many kind and caring students, faculty, staff who reached out their hands to me to help me whenever I needed it,” Kanemura said.

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Haruka Kanemura poses for a photo with her mother after the mural reveal ceremony ended. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

The yellow/green hands represented support.

“One of the characteristics about El Camino that I was really fascinated was the amount of student services offered here,” Kanemura said.

The blue hands represented excellence.

Kanemura said during her speech that she wants her mural to “break misconceptions” about El Camino College and hopes that students will “go beyond” and create art more openly and freely.

Kanemura was presented with a certificate to honor the work that went into creating her mural.

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Haruka Kanemura poses with the award she was presented during the mural revealing ceremony on Tuesday, May 22. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

As the ceremony ended, Toya announced that signed copies of The Union’s Thursday, March 22 second issue that featured a story about Kanemura would be available for the audience to take home and he joked that it may be worth a lot of money some day.

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Director of Student Development Greg Toya poses with The Union's Thursday, March 22 second issue that featured a story about Kanemura. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

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Kanemura signed copies of The Union’s Thursday, March 22 second issue that featured a story about her and the then, unfinished mural. The guests were welcomed to take copies of the newspaper home with them. Photo credit: Faith Petrie

In regards to future artistic projects around El Camino College, Toya wants to “celebrate this accomplishment.”

“We spent a lot of time and energy figuring out how to celebrate (this art project) so I can’t really answer any future questions,” Toya said.

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About the Writer
Faith Petrie, Opinion, Arts, Social Media, and Managing Editor

Faith Petrie is a second semester, Journalism major at El Camino College. This is her second semester on The Union newspaper. She enjoys listening to a wide variety of music, rewatching classic movies, and buying books she’ll never read in her spare time. She hopes to transfer to California State University of Long Beach in the fall of 2018 to become a music journalist.

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Student artist’s mural celebrates compassion, support and excellence of El Camino College