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Chancellor Irwin announces commission of Kekuhikuhi mural honoring Edith Kanaka‘ole

Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall pictured with palms along one side.
Kamea Hadar and Kūhaʻo Zane are collaborating on a mural of the late Hawaiian icon Edith Kanaka‘ole on the building named in her honor, Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall, at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus. (Cooper Lund/UH Hilo Stories)

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Chancellor Bonnie D. Irwin shared this message on May 3 to the university ‘ohana.

At left is Aunty Edith sitting with pahu. At right are her two daughters Pua and Nalani dancing. They are at Halemaumau crater in the background.
Edith Kanakaʻole at left with her daughters Pua and Nalani. (Courtesy photo/UH System News)

In chorus with the celebration of Edith Kanaka‘ole’s United States Mint quarter, Kamea Hadar and Kūhaʻo Zane, with the support of the UH Hilo Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Services, are collaborating on a mural of the late Hawaiian icon on the Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus.

As a faculty member at both the Hawai‘i Community College and the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Aunty Edith openly shared her deep ancestral knowledge passed down to her through her familial hula lineage. Her early contributions to the university’s Hawaiian language program and numerous community initiatives have set a foundation that continues to be built on today. It is an immense honor to share her story through this mural and have her portrait serve as a prominent feature on our campus.

Kamea Hadar pictured with scaffolding in the background.
Kamea Hadar (Courtesy photo)

Kamea Hadar is a talented and experienced muralist honored by this opportunity. He has taken art courses at the Honolulu Art Academy and University of Hawai‘i and spent periods living, studying, and creating in Paris, Madrid, and Tel Aviv. Currently residing in Honolulu, he is the Co-Lead Director of POW! WOW! Worldwide and his large-scale murals for businesses, organizations, and schools have been featured on buildings both in Hawai‘i as well as globally. Hadar was commissioned by the University of Hawai‘i to enhance several campus facilities, including the Stan Sheriff Center and the College of Education at UH Mānoa. Most recently, Hadar honored Native Hawaiian Olympic medalists Duke Kahanamoku and Carissa Moore with a large-scale mural in downtown Honolulu and completed another for the Polynesian Voyaging Society as a tribute to master navigator Papa Mau Piailug of Satawal.

Kūha‘o Zane pictured in an art gallery.
Kūha‘o Zane (UH System News)

Kūha‘o Zane, Edith Kanaka‘ole’s grandson, and Creative Director of Sig Zane Designs, will be collaborating with Hadar on the design of this mural. Weaving his father’s hand-cut art as well as the cultural narratives that drive their mission of education through design, this large expression of creativity is a celebration of his Grandmother’s achievements, impact and influence. Through the twenty years that Kūhaʻo has worked at Sig Zane Designs, he established a design studio SZKaiao which has done work for Tiffany’s & Co., Louis Vuitton, Nike and a multitude of local entities. Although each of these projects varied in brand identity and uniform design all, including mural projects like this one, are embedded in the cultural foundation passed to him generationally.

This is the third mural at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo that Kīpuka NHSC has supported. The first two were completed in 2015 on the UH Hilo residence halls and celebrate the physical features of Hilo and the mo‘olelo that accompany them. Murals such as these reflect the values of the community and help UH Hilo students to further develop connections to Hilo. UH Hilo students will continue to be an integral part of the mural process by contributing to a continuation of the mural throughout the summer.

Bonnie D. Irwin

Invitation to E Hō Mai Ka ʻIke

The Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation,
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo,
Hawai‘i Community College,
United States Mint,
the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum,
and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
is hosting

E Hō Mai Ka ʻIke

a public event honoring

Aunty Edith Kekuhikuhipu‘uoneonāali‘iōkohala Kanaka‘ole

Saturday, May 6, 2023

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

10:30 a.m. (Doors open at 10:00 a.m.)

Performing Arts Center

(This formal program will be live streamed)

11:30 a.m. Celebration and Exhibits of Aunty Edith’s Impact

Edith Kanaka‘ole Hall

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