Temple Children Completes Six Murals in Downtown Hilo

Seven renowned artists recently completed six large-scale, sustainability and Hawai‘i Island-themed murals throughout Downtown Hilo. Artists painted – through rain and shine – October 17-24, 2016.

The murals were driven by Temple Children, a local arts and sustainability organization that coordinates projects to strengthen communities, promote social and environmental innovation, and incite positive global change.

The October mural series is the third public art activation by Temple Children aimed at beautifying and revitalizing the Downtown Hilo community.

During the visiting artists’ stay, all were immersed in Hawai‘i Island culture, educated on local food sustainability, and fed nearly 100 percent locally-sourced on-island fare. In addition to painting, artists participated in a lo‘i restoration workday in Waipi‘o Valley organized by local non-profit Pōhāhā I Ka Lani. Kilauea EcoGuides led an educational hike to the lava flow prior to artists’ departure.

Completed murals may be viewed at:

Hilo Backpacker’s Hostel on Waianuenue Ave //
Artists: Rick Hayward and Emily Devers @frankandmimi (Brisbane, Australia)

Frank and Mimi’s mural is inspired by hands-on immersion in Waipiʻo Valley, where they worked collectively with the Temple Children crew to restore a loʻi for non-profit, Pōhāhā I Ka Lani. As a duo, they explore sustainable food production methods and use their artwork to stimulate necessary discussion about the future of food. Frank and Mimi believe it is our responsibility to regenerate what we take, allowing the earth to heal from human touch. Their Hilo mural celebrates the indigenous papaya, taro and ʻolena, with the phrase ‘Land of Plenty’ layered over imagery of the powerful Hawai‘i Island foods. The text is illustrated using topographic line work directly referencing Mauna Kea, framing negative space in which sustainable food production conversations can continue.

Agasa Furniture Store on Ponahawai St //
Artist: Yoskay Yamamoto @yoskayyamamoto (Toba, Japan)

Yosaky’s piece draws inspiration from the vast skies and oceans of Hawai‘i. His on-island experience with Temple Children has provided him with the opportunity to deepen his connect with Mother Earth.

Yosaky’s piece draws inspiration from the vast skies and oceans of Hawai‘i. His on-island experience with Temple Children has provided him with the opportunity to deepen his connect with Mother Earth.

Downtown KTA Super Stores on Keawe St //
Artist: Kai Kaulukukui @artworkofkai (Puna, Hawai‘i)

Kai’s two murals– focused on food sustainability and utilizing locally grown produce to feed our ‘ohana–are located at the iconic Downtown Hilo KTA market. The two panels directly next to Kai’s were painted murals by local artist Kathleen Kam, and are also about food sustainability. Kai felt a responsibility to the existing art to continue the story. While Kathleen painted the farming and harvesting aspect, Kai concentrated on preparation and consumption. One mural depicts a lu’au set in the past to show the similarities of how we dine together now. The second mural is a collage of fresh and healthy harvested foods.

Former Ebesugawa Flower Shop on Furneaux Ln //
Artist: Jet Martinez @jetmar1 (Oakland, California)

Jet’s mural is a celebration of the Ebesugawa sisters’ lifetime of work with flowers in Downtown Hilo. It was a great coincidence for Jet that the site of his mural was formerly a flower shop as his subject specialty is flowers. In Jet’s research of the Ebesugawa family, he found repeated references of the sisters often talked about serving their clients with kindness and openness, which really resonated with him. The mural features a Hilo-inspired floral arrangement, creating a bright, uplifting, and harmonious space.

Jet’s mural is a celebration of the Ebesugawa sisters’ lifetime of work with flowers in Downtown Hilo. It was a great coincidence for Jet that the site of his mural was formerly a flower shop as his subject specialty is flowers. In Jet’s research of the Ebesugawa family, he found repeated references of the sisters often talked about serving their clients with kindness and openness, which really resonated with him. The mural features a Hilo-inspired floral arrangement, creating a bright, uplifting, and harmonious space.

Hana Hou Hilo on Bayfront //
Artist: Brandy Serikaku @b_alia (Hilo, Hawai‘i)

Brandy’s piece honors the famous rain of Hilo, Ka Ua Kanilehua. The name speaks about the sound it makes when it rains on the ʻōhiʻa lehua tree. The artist worries about losing lehua trees to rapid ʻōhiʻa death and never hearing this special rain again. To the artist, growing up in Hilo, the rain is everything. She calls the rain a source of inspiration, life and the only way one can enjoy rainbows. Brandy wanted to honor the town and hālau she grew up in, by honoring the one thing Hilo is famous for since our kūpuna, Ka Ua Kanilehua.

Brandy’s piece honors the famous rain of Hilo, Ka Ua Kanilehua. The name speaks about the sound it makes when it rains on the ʻōhiʻa lehua tree. The artist worries about losing lehua trees to rapid ʻōhiʻa death and never hearing this special rain again. To the artist, growing up in Hilo, the rain is everything. She calls the rain a source of inspiration, life and the only way one can enjoy rainbows. Brandy wanted to honor the town and hālau she grew up in, by honoring the one thing Hilo is famous for since our kūpuna, Ka Ua Kanilehua.

Nikisa Properties Building on Ponahawai + Kinoole //
Artist: Sam Yong @saminthewolf (Auckland, New Zealand)

Sam’s piece depicts an ‘io, endemic to Hawai‘i Island and a symbol of Hawaiian royalty. The bird’s history teaches the community to look at life from a different perspective, to love nature, and take care of the land.

Sam’s piece depicts an ‘io, endemic to Hawai‘i Island and a symbol of Hawaiian royalty. The bird’s history teaches the community to look at life from a different perspective, to love nature, and take care of the land.

The public art and sustainability project was made possible with financial support from Novo Painting (Cole and Lisa Palea), OluKai, K. Taniguchi, Ltd., Hana Hou Hilo, Agasa Furniture Store and Keaukaha One Youth Development.

HPM Building Supply donated Pratt & Lambert paint; ladders and lifts supplied by Takamine Construction; and artist meals donated by Sweet Cane Café, Aloha Mondays and Loved by the Sun. Additional local donations were provided by Aiona Car Sales, Two Ladies Kitchen, Moon and Turtle, Big Island Booch, OK Farms, The Locavore Store, Island Naturals, Shark’s Coffee and MaruMaru Hawaii. Onsite support and keiki volunteers provided by Circle of Life Hilo’s Leandra Keuma and local artist Kathleen Kam.

The October project was led by Temple Children founders, Miya Tsukazaki and David “MEGGS” Hooke, and Regional Director Ashley Kierkiewicz. It was documented by Cory S. Martin, a freelance cinematographer, director and editor based in Buffalo, New York.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I do this to keep the spammers away * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.