Hōkūle‘a Mural Project at The Flats at Pu‘unui

Dec 15, 2020 | Blog

At The Flats at Pu‘unui, you’ll find the Hōkūle‘a Mālama Hōnua Mural, a moving, community-generated work of art inspired by a collection of mo‘olelo (stories) from Hōkūle‘a crew members that honors the Hawaiian double-hulled voyaging canoe and her Mālama Honua worldwide journey.

A collaboration with the Polynesian Voyaging Society and 808 Urban, this piece reflects the proverb, “He wa‘a he moku, he moku he wa‘a,” which means, “A canoe is an island; an island is a canoe.” This proverb highlights the importance of working together in the wa‘a (canoe) for a successful voyage and how that same principle applies to the way we live here on the islands. The message further points out the importance of caring together for the Earth and the ocean, and how each person plays a vital role in our communities. The vibrant, colorful mural features silhouettes of ocean creatures, canoe plants and an island that is also portrayed as the wa‘a.

Hōkūle‘a crew members worked closely with the talented artists of 808 Urban to create this dynamic ground mural, which was completed in November 2018. Keiki and kūpuna were invited to dip their hands into paint and help create the base of the mural. It was truly a lively and joyous community event with live music, hula and food.

A closer look is necessary to appreciate the intricacy and detail. Starting from the deep ocean, the artists painted Kanaloa (God of the ocean) and his kinolau (physical forms) gathering in the ocean they call home. There are creatures like the honu (turtle) crawling towards the coastal plain, a beautiful transition from across the ocean to the land, and looking up to the vivid sky. At the base of the majestic Hōkūle‘a sails is the island, represented as the wa‘a, and silhouettes of canoe plants that voyagers handpicked to bring across the vast ocean. Many, if not all, of these plants are still used and consumed today.

We invite you to stop by and take a look at this mural when you’re in the neighborhood. It is a treasure to our community. You can learn more about the Hōkūle‘a and her historic journey around the world at hokulea.com.

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