UH Manoa graphic design students are commissioned to create mall mural in Kapolei

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Anna Womack, (808) 956-6052
Administrative Coordinator, Arts & Humanities/A Semester In Hawaii
Chae Ho Lee, (808) 956-7626
Associate Professor, Art and Art History
Posted: Dec 1, 2016

From left, Adrian Luna, Shelly Amine, Lauren Tabor, Kelsey Kabazawa, Associate Professor Chae Ho Lee, Brye Kobayashi, Briana Wagstaff and Shiho Aoki.
From left, Adrian Luna, Shelly Amine, Lauren Tabor, Kelsey Kabazawa, Associate Professor Chae Ho Lee, Brye Kobayashi, Briana Wagstaff and Shiho Aoki.
The mural for the Ka Makana Alii shopping mall in Kapolei.
The mural for the Ka Makana Alii shopping mall in Kapolei.

Seven graphic design students from the UHM Department of Art and Art History were commissioned to create a 120- by 9-foot-tall mural for Ka Makana Ali’i, a new shopping mall in Kapolei. 

The project, which was completed in less than three weeks, was a collaboration of the seven art students under the guidance of Associate Professor Chae Ho Lee as part of the ART 465 course. The theme of the mural, "Makai to Mauka (Ocean to Mountains)," illustrates the islands with the following pairs of images: ocean and sealife, sea and shore, town and country, mountains and forests, streams and lo’i fields, fauna and flora, and plantations and sun. 

The mural was commissioned to help brand the mall and will be part of its grand opening ceremonies. It is located near the CPK restaurant and movie theaters, and will be available for viewing for a few months while construction on the mall continues.

Stephanie Lake and Platform Hawaiʻi provided invaluable help in commissioning the student artwork and installation of the mural. 

The student artists are Briana Wagstaff, Shelly Amine, Brye Kobayashi, Lauren Tabor, Shiho Aoki, Kelsey Kabazawa and Adrian Luna, who shared personal observations about their portions of the mural:

OCEAN AND SEALIFE: "One of the first things people think about Hawai‘i is the vast array of sea life that exists in the Pacific ocean. The most popular activity for newcomers to the islands is to go snorkeling; however, it is also a favorite past time for many locals. Spearfishing has been a part of Hawaiian and local culture for many generations. In my piece for the mural I wanted to emphasize the many types of fish a diver would encounter in the ocean (ahi, uhu and u‘u) while also bringing in popular fish commonly seen while snorkeling (humunukunukuapua‘a, puffer fish and a turtle). I wanted this section to feel like the viewer is taking a look into the life of our ocean here in Hawai‘i." -- Briana Wagstaff 

SEA AND SHORE:  "The ocean and our beaches have always been of great significance to Hawaiʻi and play a major role in the lives of the people living in these islands. I wanted to capture the beauty and power of the ocean and depict the significance of surfing, paddling and sailing in Hawaiʻi. Hawaiians have traveled great distances using the stars as key tools in Polynesian way finding. The illustrations celebrate a legacy of discovery." -- Shelly Amine 

TOWN AND COUNTRY:  "The concept for my section of the mural is the convergence of urban living and the natural landscape. Drawing inspiration from O‘ahu’s current and future urban city life, the illustrations feature a monorail weaving through the buildings and lettering, as well as people enjoying activities such as shopping and hiking in the mountains. The city integrates seamlessly from makai to mauka, symbolizing Hawai‘i’s unique relationship between man and nature." -- Brye Kobayashi 

MOUNTAINS AND FORESTS:  "This section of the mural was inspired by O‘ahu’s mountain ranges and the variety of plants which exist in this landscape, as well as plants that are indigenous to O‘ahu. Ti leaf motifs were incorporated throughout the illustration and are symbolic of good luck and prosperity in Hawai‘i. The addition of Ti leaves was also inspired by the Ti leaves featured in the Ka Makana Ali‘i logo. A waterfall motif was also integrated, representing both the various waterfalls tucked between O‘ahu’s Ko‘olau mountain range, and the Hawaiian cultureʻs spiritual connection with water as a finite resource. This section of the mural captures a part of O‘ahu focused primarily on the environment and its elements. " -- Lauren Tabor

STREAMS AND LO‘I:  "An abundance of taro is farmed through a system called the Lo‘i. The Lo‘i consists of a stream of water that is very crucial to growing taro, as it grows and is split throughout the fields. Taro is a staple food in Hawai‘i and Hawaiians believe that the human race descended from it. In this illustration, Water streams down from the mountains to the taro patch, nurturing a healthy crop ready to be harvested and made into poi. The hand is a representation of Lono the Hawaiian god associated with fertility, agriculture, rainfall, music and peace." -- Shiho Aoki 

FAUNA AND FLORA:  "Out of all 50 states, Hawai‘i has the highest number of endangered species. Much of the endangered fauna are birds, which is what this panel features: the Nene goose and ‘I‘iwi bird. They are accompanied by native ‘Ohi‘a Lehua tree branches and flowers. A Hibiscus is representative of Hawai‘i, as it is the official state flower, and the pistil, the female reproductive part of the flower, is representative of a source for life."  -- Kelsey Kabazawa

PLANTATIONS AND SUN:  "My portion of the mural is dedicated to the sun. Kapolei sits on what was previously sugarcane and pineapple plantation land. With this in mind, I wanted to show the importance of the sun in the production of these crops. I also included a tribute to the demigod Maui, who was known to lasso the sun to slow down the day so that Hawaiians would have longer days to grow food and enjoy their lives." -- Adrian Luna 

For more information, visit: http://www.hawaii.edu/art/