Anonymous donation gives mural new life

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Trysen Kaneshige discusses shades of green with teacher Leslie Frazier Saturday during the repainting of a mural on a fence along Kaneka Street at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Puhi.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Teacher Leslie Frazier and Trysen Kaneshige start work repainting a weathered mural Saturday on a fence facing Kaneka Street at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Puhi.

  • Contributed by John Ross

    Teacher Leslie Frazier, muralist Trysen Kaneshige and community volunteers work to refurbish a mural on the fence fronting Kaneka Street at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School in Puhi Saturday.

People passing the mural at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School will be surprised at what took place Saturday along the Kaneka Street perimeter fence.

“We had an anonymous donor provide money to the school,” said Leslie Frasier, CKMS art instructor. “This contribution was made to refurbish the mural on the Kaneka Street perimeter fence. The contribution was enough to cover the spray paint we’re using to repaint the mural.”

Trysen Kaneshige, a well-known local muralist, worked with Frasier, pausing from the task to inquire about the different shades of green paint available.

“I used to be a student here,” Kaneshige said. “When I found out they were doing this, I had to come and help.”

Kaneshige was one of the first volunteers to show up for the project that was expected to be done by the end of Saturday. Other volunteers included teachers from the school, students and community volunteers who like the mural that has been slowly starting to show the effects of being ravaged by the weather.

Frasier said the repainting utilized spray paints because they are a lot more durable than fabric dye. The volunteer crew also tried to retain the original colors of the mural.

Frasier’s art0-class students created the mural earlier this year as a collaborative effort with the school’s Hawaiian studies class, which endeavored to plant a native-Hawaiian garden and create outdoor-classroom space in a portion of the school that was not being used.

“As an artist and art teacher, I am interested in creating public-art installations that de-institutionalize institutions like schools,” Frasier said during the creation period in April.

“I gravitate towards fiber arts as my medium of choice, and have been wanting to do something like this on campus for a few years now. This was the year due to the fact that I have smaller classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has made it completely manageable,” said Frasier.

The completed mural project was embraced by the community for its effectiveness at enhancing the native-Hawaiian plantings and masking the stark, chain-link perimeter fencing.

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

The result is a 220-foot-long mural made up of fabric woven into the fence by the art class to create a sunset landscape.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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