“Just for a Day”
Estria and Prime
Kalauokalani Way off of Kapi‘olani Boulevard, Honolulu, O‘ahu
For this project, Estria wanted to experiment with creating a full-sized character that would cover the entire surface of one wall. He wanted the character to be painted completely with a paint sprayer, as opposed to spray paint. It turned out that a 22’ tall wall wasn’t big enough for the paint sprayer method, though he did spray the entire base coats, which took one day.
In this mural, the angry he‘e holds up King Kamehameha’s skull above the waterline so he can see how the development on our islands has desecrated sacred land, and forever destroyed natural ground water flows.
After painting this, Estria’s mother suggested he research the he‘e’s significance in Hawaiian lore. Kanaloa is known as the great he‘e. A line from a pule/prayer, says: “E Kanaloa, ke akua o ka he'e.” In ancient days people would pray to Kanaloa when they were sick. It is fitting that Kanaloa, the god of sea-farers/ocean/destruction, is protecting Kamehameha, and is summoned to heal the sick islands.
"In the mythology of old Hawaii, Kanaloa was the god of the ocean, a healer god, and the close companion of Kane, the god of creation. They would journey together, share the sacred drink of 'awa, and use their staves to strike the ground and cause springs of fresh water to burst forth. Rare statues of Kanaloa feature him with round eyes, unlike those of any other representations of the gods. In the Hawaiian language, "kanaloa" is also used as a word that means "a sea shell; the young stage of a certain fish; an alternate name for Kaho'olawe Island; and secure, firm, immovable, established, unconquerable." A root translation of the word, ka-na-loa, means "the great peace, or the great stillness." The word also has the connotation of total confidence. In the esoteric tradition of Huna Kupua, Kanaloa represents the Core Self, or the center of the universe within oneself."
In Hawaiian tradition, the number eight is symbolic of great power.
Kamehameha is missing his two front teeth, which in those days represented mourning—people removed their teeth to mourn the loss of loved ones.