CKMS mural sheds light on student’s Hawaiian garden

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School instructor Leslie Frazier cleans around the sun, Wednesday at the developing mural on the school’s fenceline fronting Kaneka Street.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student Poppy Olson works on the blue fabric weaving, Wednesday at the school’s fenceline fronting Kaneka Street.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student Kyra Tubon appears to be harvesting as she trims off loose endss of a mural developing in the shadow of the school’s gardening class working to move mulch to their developing native Hawaiian plant garden.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School students work on a mural developing on the Kaneka Street fenceline, Wednesday morning.

PUHI — Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School instructors Enoka Karatti, and Leslie Frasier agreed the developing mural on the school’s fenceline fronting Kaneka Street is simply a matter of doing what they can do during this COVID-19 pandemic.

“We could never do a project like this before the pandemic,” Karratti, a Hawaiian Studies instructor, said of the small native Hawaiian plant garden developing on a “sliver of land owned by the school” on the Puhi Park side of campus. “The mural is perfect because it attracts people’s attention to the garden. It’s what they see first when they drive by.”

Farsier is the lead for the mural based on an abstract landscape to create a sunset from the mountains to the sea.

“Thirty students?” Frasier said. “I could never manage that number of students at one time. This was the year to do this because of the fact that I have smaller classes due to COVID, and this has made it completely manageable.”

“When I heard about the garden being built, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to put my idea of personalizing institutions into reality,” the art instructor said. “I was attracted to the idea of collaborating across subjects, and Mr. Karatti was very open and welcoming to the idea. I wanted to make a ‘bridge’ to the new Hawaiian Plant garden to bring awareness of the project to the community.”

The mural measuring 4 feet high by 220 feet long is based on a needle felting project the students did and is currently hung in the school cafeteria.

“This is quite an amazing collaboration,” Frasier said. “Funding for most of the fabric is covered by the grant awarded to Mr. Karatti for the garden project. The sixth grade art students are creating the mural by weaving fabric in and out of the chain link to create a beautiful sunset covering the mountains to the sea.”

Frasier said she believes there has never been a project similar to this being done on Kaua‘i, and for that reason, does not know the life of the filler fabric.

“It’s up to the weather,” she said. “But it’s going up a lot faster than I thought it would. Conversely, when it needs to come down, it shouldn’t take that long.”


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or

  1. Tina French April 15, 2021 3:58 am Reply

    This is absolutely stunning!!! I am always amazed a people’s creativity to create beautiful things.
    Kiddos to you for being creative and thinking out of the box to keep the kids engaged and working on something so beautiful for all of us to enjoy.
    Can wait to get up to see it.

  2. MamaTree April 15, 2021 12:13 pm Reply

    That mural could go up much faster if all kids (students) were allowed to return to CKMS more than two (2) days a week and receive actual class-instruction after the noon hour (when school technically “ends” these days). Very pretty window-dressing though, and kids actually have more time to LOOK at the mural like passersby . . . cause they’re not IN CLASS!

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