The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is now home to the third installment of a statewide campaign to commemorate a landmark anniversary for Hawaiian language education. The project celebrates the 30th anniversary of Ka Papahana Kaiapuni (Hawaiian immersion schools in Hawaiʻi). The campaign encompasses designing and creating ten Living Legacy Murals inspired by the moʻolelo (story) of Kalapana.

The Hilo mural, located at 51 Makaʻala Street, is sponsored by Ka Haka ʻUla Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Kamehameha Schools, and the state Department of Education Office of Hawaiian Education.

“The project’s goal is to use art as a medium to invigorate Native Hawaiian identity and perpetuate Hawaiian values, language and culture, while raising awareness of the 23 Hawaiian language immersion and charter schools that form Ka Papahana Kaiapuni,” says Kamalani Johnson, lecturer at the college and the mural project’s Hawaiian language director.

The Hilo mural was created by teachers, students and ʻohana (family) from Ka ʻUmeke Kāʻeo (a pre-K12 Hawaiian immersion school), along with Hawaiian language students from UH Hilo and the Hawaiian medium laboratory school Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu (a lab public charter school) in Keaʻau.

The mural project is being led by a collective of artists and supporters called ʻĀuna Pāheona headed by graffiti artist John Prime Hina. They have been traveling the state since August. The group is engaging local artists and Hawaiian immersion schools to design and create the murals, which are being painted one at a time culminating on May 25, 2018, in Hanapēpē, Kauaʻi.

The Ka Papahana Kaiapuni celebration coincides with the 20th anniversary of UH Hilo’s Hawaiian language college. College director Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa says the murals commemorate the progress and revitalization efforts of the Hawaiian language through its Hawaiian medium-immersion educational pathway as Hawaiʻi prepares to mark next year’s 40th anniversary of ʻōlelo (language) Hawaiʻi as a state official language.

The Hilo mural depicts Kalapana and his skills.

Read the full press release in English and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

—A UH Hilo Stories article.