PETITE VILLE * BIG ART will unveil two 100-foot murals on June 25
A pair of 100-foot SMALL TOWN * BIG ART murals dedicated to Wailuku’s distinctive sense of place, history and culture will be honored by the community tonight, June 25.
Created over the course of two weeks on the grounds of the Imua Discovery Garden (formerly the Yokouchi Estate) in historic Wailuku, artists Alex Underwood, Bailey Onaga and Courtney Chargin completed the painting on June 23 in the middle of the Maui OnStage Summer Theater Camp, which has shared the 6-acre space as it transforms into “an outdoor haven for learning and exploration where learners of all abilities can develop at their own pace.” .
Every Friday throughout the summer camp, family members are invited to the field to enjoy a new theater showcase each week. This Friday, Maui OnStage Executive Director Luana Whitford-Mitchell and Imua Family Services & Discovery Garden Executive Director Dean Wong graciously invited SMALL TOWN * BIG ART to participate in the opening of the evening to recognize the synergistic experience of having professional visual artists. on site alongside their exemplary programs.
“I think having the Imua Discovery Garden as an outdoor studio space for SMALL TOWN * BIG ART was a wonderful idea,” said Luana Whitford-Mitchell, “We were delighted to be invited to use the space by Dean and to be able to amplify our young people with new experiences that promote creative and critical thinking skills, develop leadership, build self-confidence and teach teamwork in a supportive and safe environment What better way to teach collaboration than to exemplify it through this Friday’s event, which celebrates the creativity of our young people in a dedicated space surrounded by the arts alongside our grassroots community.
The murals were painted at Imua Discovery Garden on 50 individual 4 × 8 plywood panels, which would later be lined up and installed as a temporary building wall surrounding the municipal parking lot in Wailuku.
They are part of a series of three murals that make up the Mana Wahine Project for SMALL TOWN * BIG ART, which has been in development since February as artists, community consultants, construction teams, county partners, Hale Hōʻikeʻike au Bailey House Museum / Maui Historical Society supporters and others came together to plan the logistics, create the artistic compositions, and select ‘ōlelo from’ Ōlelo No’eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Political Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui to firmly anchor each room in its ultimate sense of place.
At this Friday’s theatrical showcase in the garden, Dean Wong will recognize artist Alex Underwood, who created a vibrant floral piece featuring wauke, loulu, ma’o, naupaka, kalo, hesperomannia arbuscula and Pōhinahina, inspired by ‘ōlelo, “Mōhala I ka wai ka maka o ka pua” (unfolded by the water are the faces of the flowers) and the team of artists Bailey Onaga and Courtney Chargin, who represent Wailuku and Mauna Kahālāwai as a wahi pana in their night skyline composition inspired by ‘ōlelo, “Wailuku i ka malu he kuawa” (Wailuku, safe from the valley). The third fresco – a portrait of Mary Kawena Pukui as a young girl inspired by’ ōlelo , “E noho iho i ke ōpū weuweu, mai hoʻokiʻekiʻe” (stay among the tufts of grass and do not rise up) – will be honored in an official blessing by Uncle Bill Garcia this coming Tuesday at the construction site from the municipal parking lot of Wailuku.
“This symbolic transfer of the artwork from our ST * BA hui to the general public is an important step in community co-ownership and safeguarding the artwork,” shares Kelly McHugh-White of ST * BA, “Later , when the construction schedule allows us to install the Alex, Bailey and Countney wall panels in the town of Wailuku, we can complement our intention of good energy and community involvement with a blessing at the site wall painting. We are extremely grateful to Luana and Dean for sharing their space with us at Imua Discovery Garden and for allowing the artwork to come alive through the important work their organizations do for youth and families. from Maui.
“The pandemic has created a space between so many of us within the community as we have been asked to move away socially and take care,” shares Dean Wong, “All of us at Imua want to see this new garden as a space that brings us together, and we’re proud to welcome Maui OnStage, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART, and the dozens of others who have already helped us celebrate these lands. Friday will be a time to recognize this as a place to inspire, nurture, grow and safely come together. ”
The event will begin at 6 p.m. and is limited to 100 guests, with priority given to families of Maui OnStage Summer Theater campers.