Caring for the island earth is a cornerstone of Hawaiian culture. The land and the sea exist side by side, in harmony, and are greatly valued by islanders.
In his largest work to date, artist Kamea Hadar celebrates the enduring beauty of these natural resources. The mural depicts the goddess of the moon Hina on the facade of the 14-storey Halawa View Apartments, which faces out to Pearl Harbor. In one hand Hina carries the moon, whilst in the other she holds a taro leaf. The moon provides a guiding light to all sailors of the world, and symbolises the sea, whilst the taro leaf is rooted in the land—mirroring the way in which the local community interacts with the land and the sea.
The piece was inspired by the return of the sacred canoe Hokulea, which has been at sea for over three years using only the sun, moon, and stars to navigate its way. The voyage embarked in name of the mission ‘malama honua’, which translates to ‘caring for our island earth’.
It’s a work with a big heart and comes in a big size too. In fact, it is now the state record largest portrait in the history of Hawaii… Hadar jokes “[I] crapped my panties every morning climbing that thing.”
The mural has been embraced by the residents of Halawa View Apartments, which aims to preserve affordability for residents and uphold green building measures. Hadar’s portrait of Hina is for the community and the landscape that surrounds them.
- Words: Maki Morita