LIHU‘E — NirManaFest, a Kaua‘i mural festival, took root in the darkness Sunday night, with the only spot of illumination being a work light bathing an artist sketching out the design on the Hardy-Street-facing wall of the Pi‘ikoi Building of the Lihu‘e Civic Center.
“It was my birthday,” said Kaplan Bunce, one of the 15 Kaua‘i artists participating in the project that will see five different walls along ‘Ewalu and Rice streets give birth to five different murals, with an anticipated completion date of Friday. “I always wanted to be involved in a project like this. I just didn’t want to be the one coordinating it.”
Seth Womble, the artist who, along with Trysen Kaneshige, recently completed the Hope mural on the M. Tanaka Store building for the Kaua‘i Resiliency Project, coordinates the efforts and energies of the 15 Kaua‘i artists who are working with respect for the current COVID-19 pandemic by not having any large gatherings or after-parties.
“We started on the exact one-year anniversary of painting the octopus on the Kiibo Restaurant building,” Womble said. “I’m not painting on this project, just coordinating the energies of these 15 artists.”
NirManaFest, derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “creation” or “transformation,” is meant to help bring life to Lihu‘e through highlighting the creative talent, businesses and colorful nature of Kaua‘i while providing locals and visitors something unique to look forward to, states the NirMana website that tracks the artists’ progress through the week via its social-media platforms.
“This inaugural year is most unique as a collaborative mural event where multigenerational artists will work together for the first time to help revitalize the Rice Street area,” Womble said during the call to artists in February at Kaua‘i Community College, just ahead of the serious novel coronavirus threat.
“As an annual event, the walls can be updated yearly to keep fresh and exciting. With growth, more walls, teams and communities can be added. As the event expands, it will include all types of artists, musicians, chefs, moviemakers, fashion and designers, all things creative Kaua‘i.”
Participating artists include Erin Aricayos, Bethany Coma, Kayti Lathrop, Trysen Kaneshige, Bunce, Natacha Palay, Nick Arnold, David Flores, Holly Ka‘iakapu, Shastin Grace, Shianne Schorr, Nick Fregosi, Caitlin Fregosi, Melinda Morey and Lucas Murillo.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.