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Mana Wahine mural unveiled

LIHU‘E — The sheet concealing the Mana Wahine mural was dropped on Friday night following the passage of rain that delayed the start of the unveiling ceremonies at the YWCA of Kaua‘i building on Hardy Street in Lihu‘e.

Kumu Sabra Kauka, one of the participants in the creation of Mana Wahine, officiated at the unveiling, giving thanks to the rain that delayed the ceremony’s start and sending guests scrambling for cover. The rain was welcome following weeks of drought, Kauka said.

The unveiling not only revealed Mana Wahine to the public following a monthlong effort by the Mo‘olelo Murals artists and Kamawaelualani Corp. and guest artists from the community, it also marks the start of more things to come.

“There’s a lot of story behind the mural,” said Nikki Cristobal of Kamawaelualani. “The ultimate story is that we honored Mana Wahine of Kaua‘i, who are represented in the Ha‘upu Mountain range, the sky and the plants. We included na Akua, or gods and goddesses, Laka, Hina, Namahoe, Ho‘ohokukalani and Haloa, and Kalalalehua.”

(We pause for the sake of brevity, and more comprehension in the Western style that added punctuation marks to Hawaiian words by the universities, according to native Ni‘ihau people who could write a word that was as long as a sentence with no breaks or punctuation.)

“We also honored Ali‘i Nui Kamakahelei and the next generation as seen in the illustration of Bree Blake’s niece, Jeremiah Maile Blake pounding poi,” Cristobal said. “The ohe kapala design on Ha‘upu we created with the support and guidance of Kumu Sabra Kauka and the mo‘olelo and oli often told of Ha‘upu.”

The hula dancers depicted on the mural were directly modeled off of Halau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leina‘ala, which treated guests to an in-person performance garbed in the same outfit depicted in Mana Wahine.

“Purple being the dominant color was intentional as a representative of Kaua‘i’s color — royal purple,” Cristobal said. “The mokihana and maile lei held by Kamakahelei that spans the entire length of the mural represents the stringing together of the past and future with divine protection from wahine that came before us, and whose mana surrounds us till this day.”

With the mural unveiled, Cristobal said the full stories of the mural will be appearing on the and the websites starting this week.

“We do need to raise additional funds for a story board and QR codes to make our mural a functional, educational mural for the public,” Cristobal said. “That has yet to manifest.”

The Mana Wahine mural was made possible through the efforts of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Kukulu Ola Award, the Rice Street Business Association, Gather Federal Credit Union and Shioi Construction in addition to the collaborative efforts of the YWCA of Kaua‘i, Mo‘olelo Murals and Kamawaelualani.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or
Source: The Garden Island

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