Hailey Malaika Olympia Clarke is a multimedia visual and performance artist based in San Francisco. She grew up running barefoot in the foothills of her rural hometown of Trabuco Canyon in Southern California. As a child, she was impassioned to become an activist when a local live oak forest was threatened by development. She and her family created and performed a protest song around the town in efforts to preserve the trees. It made an impact, and combined with concerted pressure, the forest was saved and remains protected to this day. She considers that early success as the catalyst which continues to motivate her environmental and artistic works. She spent her youth performing in the theater and immersed in visual artistic endeavors such as film and painting.
In her young adulthood, she had a life altering trip to Thailand. Amid a tour of painting murals and studying temple art, Malaika was in a near fatal car wreck. Ejected from the vehicle, her body was caught on the edge of a precipice by a tree, her right humerus shattered. At the time she regained consciousness, a benevolent Thai woman appeared to be gazing lovingly into her eyes. Only after returning from the hospital weeks later did she discover that the woman was not in the physical form.
It was this defining moment that Malaika took her middle name permanently, the meaning of which is 'angel' in Swahili. Her brand 'Malaika Vision' reflects this vision of angels. She would come to understand her paintings as translations of apparitions from altered states of consciousness, oftentimes supported by plant medicine. Malaika finished her time in Southeast Asia completing murals with her left untrained hand and dove into the healing potential of art and her body.
After Malaika received a BA in Fine Arts with a focus in painting from UCSC in 2008, she relocated to the Bay Area. To fund her artistic endeavors, she began working in the zero waste industry. Her eyes were opened to the mountains of waste that end up in landfills. Rather than simply ruminate on the issue, she longed to inspire change concerning what she calls society’s ‘trash shadow'. In 2011 while diving for litter in the Feather River, she envisaged Dirty Trashy Mamas, a conceptual arts group that crafted impromptu sculptures and performance art pieces out of found festival garbage. The response was tremendous, reaffirming that art, comedy and dance were the most successful vehicles to encourage sustainable actions within herself and her audience.
Malaika's journey has returned her to a love of filmmaking. She is pursuing a Screenwriting Certificate from CCSF and hopes to one day direct a feature length film from her own screenplay. Malaika's short films have premiered at Bernal Heights Film Festival, Festival of the Moving Image and City Shorts Film Festival. She has worked as a PA for Last Black Man in San Francisco, Bloody Maria Series and Shameless Photography.
She dabbles as a comedian and has performed with several circus troupes as a fire dancer and character actor. She enjoys taking a break from making garbage art by ritualistically arranging ‘ephemeral earth nests’ out of organic matter. The collection process of natural objects also allows her to pick up micro trash which she considers an integral part of her process. Much of her time is spent gardening, daydreaming with pollinators and flowers.
Malaika has volunteered as an arts educator for several non-profits including Micah Art, Common Vision and Gallery Route One’s Artists in Schools program. Whether children or adults, Malaika loves supporting people in the pursuit of unrestricted creative expression.
Currently Malaika is working on a series of collages of pages that survived the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire that took her family’s homes and art gallery in Blue River Oregon. That fire burned about half of Malaika's unsold original painting collection. She is currently repainting her legacy, and hopes to bring her audience’s awareness towards the immediate need to take action against climate change. She continues to explore the healing possibilities of creative freedom.