Saturday, February 18, 2012

'Onipa'a Kaka'ako 2011

“‘Onipa’a”
Estria, Prime, Katch, Evolve, Look, Bieste, Beak
Pohukaina Street at Koula Street, Honolulu, O‘ahu
September 2011

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Pow Wow founder, Jasper Wong, and Kamehameha Schools invited Prime and I to paint a mural in the Kaka'ako district of Honolulu. The mural inaugurates the Pow Wow Hawai'i event and what will become an arts destination in 2012. Here is our interpretation of the Hawaiian Coat of Arms. We decided to put as much culture as possible into the mural to give the people a gift they can call their own.

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Kamanawa by Prime

Prime’s initial idea was to paint King Kamehameha, but without any photos to work from, this proved difficult. Shortly before this mural, 808Urban and The Estria Foundation had produced The Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Brook Kapukunuahi Parker met Prime and Estria there. He had painted the Hawaiian Coat of Arms twice. During a phone call with Prime, Estria came up with the idea of painting the Kingdom of Hawai‘i Coat of Arms. In hindsight, there were signs leading to the mural: a patch Estria had bought from the ‘Iolani Palace lay on his desk. Estria’s friend, Kimmie Ganade, had recently told him she had a vision of the Coat of Arms.

The two ali’i on the Coat of Arms were twin advisors to King Kamehameha. According to Brook Kapukuniahi Parker, “When Kame'eiamoku and Kamanawa were living on Maui, their older brother Kahahekili, made them kapu and sent them to Hawaii to stay by Kamehameha's side and be his "kahu" (guardians). Kahekili is recognized as one po'olua father to Kamehameha. His other po'olua father was Keoua (half brother of Kalaniopu'u with the same mother) of Hawaii. The twins were instructed by Kahekili to protect, advise, guide and teach Kamehameha. They remained faithful to their young charge during the reign of Alapa'i, and after his death, Kalaniopu'u's that followed. They continued serving well into Kamehameha's own rise to power. They were by his side until their own deaths preceded the culmination of his conquests.”

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Prime and Estria wanted to connect this piece of history to the modern day. Artists Katch, Evolve, Look, and Beak were invited to add their influences to both sides of the image.

This mural offers deep respect for our kupuna in the historically strife-laden land section of Kaka‘ako.

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Kame'eiamoku by me

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Lei o Mano, shark tooth warclub

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Warriors by Katch One

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Beak's bird surfing

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Character by Bieste EV

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My he'e (octopus) guarding King Kamehameha's bones

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