Maui Arts & Entertainment

Maui Public Art Corps to hold public blessing and unveiling for Kahului mural on Saturday

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Kahului mural progress by Oscar Lett. Mural reflects a narrative given by Aunty Nanifay Paglinawan and Pualani Enos. PC: JD Pells

Maui Public Art Corps will host a public blessing and unveiling of a large-scale mural on the exterior of Ceramic Tile Plus & Exclusively Yours, at the intersection of Kahului Beach Road and Ka’ahumanu Avenue, facing Harbor Lights and Kahului Harbor, from 2 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 6.

A project many months in the making, the piece was designed by artist Oscar Lett, whose proposal to bring the story of Aunty Nanifay Paglinawan and Pualani Enos to life as a work of public art was selected by a community panel this past winter. 

In 2023, Nanifay Paglinawan, Women Helping Women lifetime achievement awardee and attorney Pualani Enos, who teaches at UH Mānoa Matsunaga Institute for Peace, recorded a talk-story as part of Maui Public Art Corps’ Hui Mo‘olelo program partnership with Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House, Maui Historical Society and the County of Maui. The narrative recounts harsh persecution and punishment endured for speaking ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (“Hawaiian language”), reflecting a stark contrast to today’s celebration of Hawaiian culture, a mere 50 years later. 


When asked what it means to have her story transformed into a work of public art, Enos responded, “It makes me as a Hawaiian, as a tiny blip on our 4,000 year history of being and knowing, feel seen rather than invisible. Hawaiʻi treasures, our value, displayed as invincible for all to see.” 

Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House and Maui Historical Society Executive Director Sissy Lake-Farm provided guidance throughout the project, most specifically to identify ‘Ōlelo No‘eau (“Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings”) to ground the work in a sense of place sharing.

“This mural stands as a poignant reminder of Maui’s storied past and serves as a cornerstone in our ongoing efforts to safeguard and disseminate our cultural heritage,” said Lake-Farm. “It helps to embody the essence of our collective identity and strengthens our resolve to preserve it for future generations.”


Working in partnership with Lake-Farm and the County of Maui since its 2018 inception of the SMALL TOWN * BIG ART pilot project in Wailuku, Maui Public Art Corps pairs professional artists 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. Its mission is to connect people, place and story through the development of exceptional public art projects. 

The piece has been grounded in ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: “Pipili no ka pīlali i ke kumu kukui” (“The pīlali gum sticks to the kukui tree: Said of one who remains close to a loved one all the time, as a child may cling to the grandparent they love”). 

The public is invited to partake in the blessing, to be led by Uncle Bill Garcia. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own seating arrangements and sun protection.


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