A Kalihi art project adds color to the discussion of water use in Hawaii
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 23, 2011
A team of artists is completing a large mural at Honolulu Community College in Kalihi in hopes of sparking a dialogue about Hawaii's water use.
"We're painting what a sustainable Hawaii would be like in terms of water usage," said Estria Miyashiro, coordinator of the art project and a graffiti artist for more than 26 years.
It is the third of what is planned to be a series of 10 water-oriented murals around the world, organizers said.
The mural — 22 feet high and 185 feet long — offers a past, present and future look at Hawaii's water system. It includes depictions of ahupua‘a, an ancient land division system from the mountain to the ocean that usually has stream boundaries he said.
Most exciting for Miyashiro and his team is painting Queen Lili‘uokalani. She's in the center of the mural blending in with the mountain and water, a way of expressing that she is one with the land.
The artists are painting the mural on a wall of the JBL Hawaii building, a building hardware distributor, that faces the college and borders Kokea Street along Kapalama Canal.
Miyashiro said he is paying the $8,000 to $10,000 cost of the mural.
Water Writes, the name of the mural series, is sponsored by the Estria Foundation, founded by Miyashiro, which plans to produce 10 murals in 10 months. It has already completed murals in Los Angeles and Oakland.
The goal of Water Writes is to create a "movement that addresses water issues worldwide," Miyashiro said.
Miyashiro, a Hawaii native, said when he spoke with organizations, artists and young people from around the world, they said the message they wanted the murals to convey was the relationship between the people and the water in their communities.
Honolulu's mural is being produced in conjunction with 808 Urban, which brings the arts into low-income neighborhoods.
"It's such a cool project and (the mural) looks amazing already," said Bruce Greek, member of 808 Urban and vice president of JBL Hawaii.
Miyashiro's team will head to the Gaza Strip after the completion of Honolulu's mural to begin the fourth painting of the Water Writes series.