Friday, Aug. 19, 2022 |
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LIHUE — When Herb Kane, considered one of the key people in the renaissance of Hawaiian culture in the 1970s, was looking for someone to talk about Hawaiian navigation, Nainoa Thompson was just 17 years old.
“He wasn’t chosen at that time because of his age,” said Chucky Boy Chock, a consultant to the Kauai Museum. “But he hung around until he was selected, and today, he is taking the Hokulea around the world to make the vision come true.”
A mural created by artist Evelyn Ritter that depicts this story and features the Hokulea was unveiled Thursday during a ceremony at the Kauai Museum.
“The mural tells more than the worldwide trip of the Hokulea,” Chock said. “It is a piece designed to give more meaning to the former navigation piece which hung on the wall. This mural tells of the significance of the stars, the kupuna and wise people who knew and taught the skill. It is also about the relationship between the land, the sea, and the skies.”
Ritter said she was grateful for the opportunity to create the mural and be part of the museum.
“The main word I really want to use is thankful,” she said Thursday. “I thank God and Jesus.”
Start to finish, the painting took about 30 hours. She didn’t begin painting until after the museum closed at 5:30 p.m., and sometimes worked until 1 a.m., then drove home.
Still, even those long days seemed to pass quickly as expectations were high.
“It was very exciting,” Ritter said.
Chock said Ritter was selected because of her ability to render the Hawaiian people.
She has created several other pieces on display at the museum.
“Everything started about the time we received the relics of the Haaheo from the Smithsonian Institute,” Chock said.
On the walls, there is a Ritter rendering of the Haaheo, and several other pieces which are pages from the Haaheo history.
“Evelyn created a piece showing the sinking of the Haaheo,” Chock said. “There are crowds of people pulling on rope made of hau fibers in an effort to prevent the ship from sinking at Hanalei Bay. But it’s more than that as she pays attention to the detail, showing the copper sheathing on the cordage being used to try and save the ship.”
The mural, one of several planned for the museum, pulls all the pieces together and tells the story and the relationship of the different incidents.
“It’s all the little pieces coming together to tell the story,” Chock said. “This is what the Kauai Museum is about — telling the story of Kauai.”
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