Children from E Maka‘ala Elementary School, high school students from Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School, and students from UH Hilo’s pharmacy program all took their turns adding to the mural today.
By Kara Nelson.
Yesterday and today, painting parties have been held at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo for the Mele Mural Project, which will be unveiled on Thursday, Mar. 19 at 4:00 p.m. Last week, students developed a design concept.
Mele Murals is a five-year, statewide youth project of the Estria Foundation that started in late 2013, where local artists, youth, and other members of communities spanning the eight major islands of Hawaiʻi are creating a series of large-scale outdoor murals focusing on Hawaiian lyrics and mele (song) that exploremoʻolelo ʻaina (stories of place) and cultural and historical heritage. Estria Miyashiro, creative director at the Estria Foundation, is here in Hilo to help oversee the creation of the UH Hilo Mele Mural.
- See UH Hilo Stories, Mar. 10, 2015: Blessing held for launch of UH Hilo Mele Mural; paint parties scheduled March 16 & 17
UH Hilo’s mural is being done on the back walls of Hale Kauanoe residence hall facing Hale Kēhau dining room.
Earlier today, children from E Maka‘ala Elementary School added to the mele mural. Next, a group of high school students from Laupāhoehoe Community Public Charter School were painting. Later in the day, students from UH Hilo’s pharmacy program took their turn.
Two members of the core hui (group) involved in the UH Hilo Mele Mural Project — UH Hilo students from Hale Kanilehua Living-Learning Community — expressed their feelings about the project.
Originally from Kona-side of the island, Kaua Mitchell, a sophomore in pre-nursing, says, “It’s empowering and meaningful. As the core hui, it touches us and hits our na‘au (the gut or the mind/heart). And then I think that also explains the word ‘core’ as like the middle, because — I don’t know — just something so meaningful and powerful, also because it depicts everything from mauka to makai (mountain to ocean) that describes Hilo and where we’re from and currently residing.”
Ulu Ornellas, a junior majoring in Hawaiian Studies and agriculture, says they went to Pu‘uhuluhulu, King’s Landing, Waiuli, and Moku Ola (Coconut Island) for inspiration. “We learned about different places of Hilo and different stories of Hilo so that we could create our own image of what Hilo is to us, so it’s definitely working as a community — definitely not a one-man job.”
Jesse “DAK.1NE” Velasquez, who was born and raised on O‘ahu, is one of the artists that came with the Estria Foundation. A 21-year-old full-time artist, he says he and artist Beethoven Sausal, also from O‘ahu, are working on the right side of the murals, especially the birds. “I think primarily why I’m here is I want to inspire everybody,” he says. He came to “give this thing life,” and has always been inspired by Hawaiian and Filipino culture. “I really take appreciation of the (Hawaiian) culture,” he says.
Ornellas says the core hui members, about 20 students, are trying to spread the word and show people what Hilo means to them.
- UH Hilo Stories, March 10, 2015: Blessing held for launch of UH Hilo Mele Mural; paint parties scheduled March 16 & 17
- UH Hilo Stories, March 20, 2015: UH Hilo Mele Mural unveiled: Wow!
About the author and photographer of this story: Kara Nelson is a senior at UH Hilo double majoring in English and communication. She is an intern in the Office of the Chancellor and writer for UH Hilo Stories.