Huge Maui art unveiling, Monday
Artist Edwin Ushiro plans to unveil a three-panel mural commissioned by a Maui nonprofit to capture the history and culture of Wailuku Town.
The unveiling of three large paintings will take place outside a building near First Hawaiian Bank on Market Street Monday, Aug. 22, at 4:30 p.m.
The triptych mural, “Wailuku Ho’okele/Wailuku Wayfinders,” has panels more than seven feet high and three feet wide, each recessed in a wooden wall.
It’s part of the public artwork project promoted by Small Town*Big Art.
Each of three panels contain an imagined constellation that acknowledges the oneness with the universe through Hawaiian constellations, including Iwikuamoʻo bone back lizard, with the star Hōkūleʻa shining in orange-red; Ka Lupe o Kawelo or the sting ray; and Ka Makau Nui o Māui – Maui’s Fish Hook with Maui.
Ushiro said he was inspired to create the paintings after listening to oral histories by Wailuku residents with references to the constellation and ocean and migration of peoples and consulting with them.
“The community engagement offered access from many angles on how the importance of a mural can help to preserve history and oral traditions,” Ushiro said. “After that experience, I can see how these engagements allowed me to visually connect the aligning stars to tell the story of how we got here.”
Kepā Maly, one of the storytellers, said even though the appearance of the land changes, there’s still something that attracts you to this place — touchstones and views you see in the distance.
One of them is the Hawaiian stars in the sky.
“We might call them intangible, but to those who have been raised in a place, this intangibles are as tangible as the physical remains.”
Edwin Ushiro’s work resonates with the echoes of his boyhood in the “slow town” of Wailuku, Maui. While structuring his work around the narrative tradition of “talk story” native to the Hawaiian islands, he interweaves the uncanny obake tales of his Japanese heritage.
After earning a BFA with honors in Illustration from Art Center College of Design, he worked in the entertainment industry as a storyboard artist, concept designer and visual consultant.
More recently, he has exhibited in venues worldwide, including Villa Bottini in Italy, Grand Palais in France, the Museum of Kyoto, HoMA, and the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
A monograph of his work entitled “Edwin Ushiro: Gathering Whispers” was published in 2014 with editions by Zero+ Publishing in the United States and Diagon Alley in China. In recent years, he has participated in several POW! WOW! mural festivals in Honolulu and Long Beach, as well as the Windows of Little Tokyo public art festival in Los Angeles. He lives and works between Los Angeles and Maui.
Developed through a 2018 Our Town grant by the National Endowment for the Arts, Small Town * Big Art is a creative placemaking collaboration of the County of Maui, Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House, Maui Historical Society, and the Maui Public Art Corps working to develop an arts district that celebrates the distinctive sense of place, history and culture of Wailuku.
Professional artists are paired with community consultants to co-create visual, performance and experiential art installations that align with ‘ōlelo from Mary Kawena Pukui’s ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings.
Through many hands and many voices, these creative interpretations represent a revitalized identity for Wailuku.
For a list of upcoming events, concerts, shows and entertainment from Aug. 18-24, find our comprehensive listing here.