A good place to be

ANAHOLA — While the dedication and unveiling ceremony will last less than two hours, the mural at the Kanuikapono Public Charter School in Anahola will stand much, much longer.

And everyone is invited to enjoy the visually stunning piece along Kukuihale Road.

“This is for the community,” said Anuhea Spencer, a Kanuikapono student. “The mural is placed so everyone who wants to is able to enjoy it.”

The mural is the result of a project which started on April 20 and culminates at its grand unveiling ceremony from 9 to 10:30 a.m. today.

“It wasn’t about just painting something,” said Estria Miyashiro, the lead artist on the project and a part of Mele Mural. “The students had to meditate and think about what they were going to be doing. This tree, as an example, is three different trees, which over the years has come together as one. It is said the roots of this tree leads to the core of the Earth. The students meditated under the shade of this tree at a heiau.”

The mural project combines elements of learning, a sense of place, pride, and exploration.

“The mural project is broken down into parts,” Spencer, who along with other Kanuikapono students form the mural committee, said. “One section is devoted to alii — Prince Kuhio, Princess Kaiulani, and Prince Humehume, — another is ‘Aloha Aina,’ where one can recognize familiar landmarks of Anahola, and the third section is devoted to ‘Forgiveness and New Beginnings.’ You see where the lava meets the ocean? That represents new beginning.”

Mele Murals is billed as a youth development, arts education, cultural preservation, and community-building project.

Starting in 2013 and spanning the eight major island of Hawaii, it plans to create a series of large-scale outdoor murals focusing on Hawaiian lyrics, or mele, which explore moolelo aina, or stories of place, and cultural and historical heritage.

Led by Estria Miyashiro who has family ties to Kauai, the group embarked on the project with the help of Mike Tyau, who spoke of the aquifers and how the abundance of water has dwindled due to wanton building.

“We had a lot of individual meditation here at school,” Spencer said. “If you look at the mural on the building, there is a ‘Pond of Inspiration’ (with water spilling over from clouds) which represents the thought everyone had to give to the project. Everyone in school, from kindergarten through high school, had a hand in this project.

“Today, we’re getting ready to unveil the project so everyone else is practicing their songs and hula which they will perform during the unveiling.”

Anuhea said the chants being done speak of the things the students painted, and if you look at the Aloha Aina section, there are a lot of familiar landmarks, all of which have a lot of stories behind them.

“There is a stone near the heiau where the three trees are,” said Lokelani Mahuiki, another Kanuikapono student. “When ladies had a hard time conceiving, they would visit the fertility stone. This is one of the things which make Anahola a good place.”

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