Ali‘iolani Elementary School

Honolulu, O‘ahu

Weʻre proud to have finished one of our biggest Mele Murals with Ali‘iolani Elementary School in Kaimukī. The overall theme of “mauka to makai” is shown and how water flow is important for life to thrive on our island. This mural shows not only the natural thriving elements, but how the ancient Hawaiian farmers in the mountains and fishermen down at old Waikiki thrived by working together to support their ecosystem. The mo‘olelo behind this mural takes us back to the ancient Hawaiian days when there was no buildings, roads or overdevelopment. 

On the left side, a Hawaiian farmer holds the main staple of kalo. The veins of the kalo leaf illuminate show a waterfall connecting it to the stream. It was discovered that an underground lava tube traversed under Kaimukī and we see o‘opu, Hawaiian freshwater goby fish, swimming through this tube.

In the middle section of the wall the wrapped ho‘okupu (offerings) is shown made of a woven lauhala, with banana, fish, and kalo in it. The ancient Hawaiians would trade kalo from the lo‘i in the higher regions for fish from fishermen in the lower region of Kahala and Waikiki. The brown brackish water, called Muliwai, is in the middle to signify how the ocean water must connect with the fresh stream water from mauka. This is because it allows o‘opu to swim upstream and lay their eggs at the peak of the streams or waterfalls, which then begins new life for more o‘opu. Two white Manu O kū birds were painted flying atop of the mural as they would fly from the ocean and traverse to the mountains, similar to how the fishermen and farmers would connect.

On the right side, huge kalo leaves are shown from the old Waikiki area. The veins of the kalo leaf turn into a fish net to show how the ancient Hawaiians would catch their food to trade. The ancient Hawaiian akua (gods) of Kāne & Kanaloa are signified in the mural. Kāne for the freshwater from the mountains and Kanaloa for the ocean water. The connection between them represent how the Hawaiians would come together to trade and live in unison. 

This relates to the title of the mural, “Kūkulu Kumuhana,” which translated (From Nana I Ke Kumu volume 1), means “the pooling of strengths, emotional, psychological and spiritual, for a shared purpose.” We break down the meaning of the title as: Kūkulu is to to build, pile up, ilke a pilar. Kumu is the source; basis; main stalk or root of a plant. Hana is to work or have an activity.

A big mahalo to the City & County of Honolulu Grant-In-Aid, Ka Papa Loʻi O Kānewai, Hosoda ‘ohana, Hawaii USA FCU, and Cary Miyashiro, the staff of Ali‘iolani Elementary School, Principal Joe Passantino, Trisha Kodama, Chelsie Matsuoka, and Mai Holman. Mahalo to the 4th grade class and MCs, Chelsie Matsuoka and Mai Holman. Mahalo to our artists, Uncle Estria, Ran Noveck, Justin Vasconcellos, Luke Pomai DeKneef, Danielle Zirk, Carla Gimpel, Naomi Uchida, Libra, and Jason Propst. Mahalo to UH CRDG, Mākaha Studios and Daryl Oshiro for their documentation. Lastly, a mahalo to the support of our staff, Tina Tagad, Michele Tanabe, and Lacey Evans for all their support.

Mele: “Keaonani”
I luna lā i luna
Nā manu o ka lewa
I lalo lua i lalo
Nā pua o ka houa
I uka lā i uka
Nā ulu lā‘au
I ka lā i kai
Nā i‘a o ka moana
Ha‘ina mai ka puana
A he nani ke ao nei
He inoi no nā kamali‘i
– na Mary Pukui

 

Viewer can find this mural below…

1240 7th Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Mural Name

“Kūkulu Kumuhana” – The pooling of strengths, emotional, psychological and spiritual, for a shared purpose

Date Completed

May 28th, 2019

School Served

Ali‘iolani Elementary School

Lead Artists

Estria Miyashiro, Ran Noveck, Justin  Vasconcellos, Danielle Zirkelbach, Luke Pomai DeKneef, Carla Gimpel, OG Libra, Naomi Uchida, Jason Propst

Cultural Practitioners, Kūpuna, Community Orgs

Ka Papa Loʻi O Kānewai and Kumu Blaine Kamalani Kia

Sponsors & Supporters

City & County of Honolulu Grant-In-Aid, Hosoda ‘ohana, Hawaii USA FCU, and Cary Miyashiro

Documented By

Darell Oshiro / Photography and Mākaha Studios / Video

We Need Your Help

Your tax deductible Annual Membership provides much needed support for arts education in Hawaiʻi.

Help purchasing much needed supplies for our wall murals.

Assist in funding cultural advisers for our youth workshops.

Help stage events surrounding our public mural unveilings.

We Need Your Help

Your tax deductible Annual Membership provides much needed support for arts education in Hawaiʻi.

Help purchasing much needed supplies for our wall murals.

Assist in funding cultural advisers for our youth workshops.

Help stage events surrounding our public mural unveilings.

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