ANAHOLA — Initially, it was a daunting task to transform the stark brown walls of the Anahola Clubhouse into a color palette that radiates warmth and represents the Hawaiian culture.
But Kukulu Kumuhana O Anahola (KKOA) enthusiastically took on the challenge five months ago and invited other organizations, businesses and individuals on the island to partner with them.
Last weekend, KKOA and everyone else involved in the Anahola Ahupua‘a Moving Mural Project celebrated its completion.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. attended the event and acknowledged all of the participants.
“I commend all of you for coming together for this wonderful project,” Carvalho said. “Now when people pass by this clubhouse, they will have a sense of the pride this community has.”
KKOA board member Nalani Mahelona recalls how it took a little while for all the elements to come together, but that having a theme helped to guide the project — Anahola Ahupua‘a: from the mountains to the sea.
“It turned out more beautiful than anyone had imagined with each artist contributing his or her own ideas and mana‘o,” said Mahelona.
Anahola resident and artist Uilani Kuhaulua devoted much of her free time to the mural.
“It was a chance for me to share important aspects of our culture with the children and the community,” said Kuhaulua, whose artwork can be found on two columns at the entrance of the facility and the walls leading to the men’s restroom.
Cultural representations abound in Kuhaulua’s highly detailed creations.
The fishnet and imu she painted are meant to show the keiki how to feed themselves, while the canoe paddler teaches youngsters how their ancestors came to Hawai‘i.
Music, lei-making, and the Hawaiian language are depicted in Kuhaulua’s art, along with the ulu, which represents the bread of life, the kukui, which symbolizes knowledge, and much more.
Also included in Kuhaulua’s painting are her grandchildren’s actual handprints.
“I wanted all 11 of them to be a part of this project,” Kuhaulua said. “Their handprints illustrate the need for us to lead them, to provide them with direction.”
Board member Mary Nakamura, who was instrumental in getting the mural project off the ground, attributes the success of the project to all the sponsors and volunteers who worked as a team.
“It was a journey for all of us, which began in July 2010 with funding from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation/Annie Sinclair Knudsen Trust and Young Bros. Ltd./Kaua‘i Barge,” Nakamura said. “Then community volunteers prepped the walls for the painting.”
Other organizations and businesses who contributed toward the project include: Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center; Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; Ka Hale Pono; County of Kaua‘i — Department of Parks and Recreation; Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative; Ace Hardware Lihu‘e; Hawai‘i Video Creations; Home Depot; Naturally Hawaiian; Olena Media; Pacific Coats Hawai‘i; and Puhi Paint.
Kukulu Kumuhana O Anahola is a community organization that was formed in late 2008 shortly after the tragic loss of three Anahola teens who died by suicide.
KKOA continues to do its work in memory of those they lost, and are compelled and committed to strengthen their children.
Visit www.kkoafoundation.org for more information.