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New mural in Kahului honors community's mana wahine

Maui public art QKC.jpg
Matt Pierce/Maui Public Art Corps
/
HPR
The mural was unveiled at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center in Kahului a few weeks ago.

A recently completed mural in Kahului pays homage to the community’s warrior women.

The mural is painted on the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center to mark its 50th anniversary. The nonprofit Maui Public Art Corps led the 17-month project, which centered on talk-story sessions and community engagement with local leaders. That included Queen Kaʻahumanu Center general manager Kauwela Bisquera, Kumu Leilehua Yuen, Aunty Kekoa Enomoto and Maui Historical Society executive director Sissy Lake-Farm.

"These public artworks help remind people what's important to a place," said Kelly McHugh-White, the nonprofit’s founding director. "They offer symbols that provoke questions. So what flower is that? Who is that figure?"

The finished painting depicts four women – two turning their heads to the right and two to the left. That symbolizes looking to the past and the future.

The mural was painted by Fathima Mohiuddin, an artist based in Canada and Dubai. She was brought in during the final month to participate in more community talk-story sessions.

McHugh-White said it was important for the mural to reflect the community’s values and stories, as well as to honor Queen Kaʻahumanu.

“It’s a really gratifying experience that goes beyond beautification. It is important to beautify a neighborhood and to amplify its colors and its stories," she said. "But really, each of these works are about really beautiful individuals that have been brave enough and generous enough to share their stories with us. And that’s what it’s all about.”

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Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at jomaye@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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