“All of the imagery will be in the heart of the canoe,” artist Kamea Hadar said.
When the Hokulea and sister canoe Hikianalia depart for their worldwide voyage in mid-May, both waa — or double-hulled canoes — will carry with them an added spirit and cultural energy from a team of local artists.
“We wanted to put together a project that not only added a little bit of color, but brought a little bit of visual beauty,” Hadar said.
Artists Hadar and Keola Nakaahiki Rapozo, under the guidance of master navigator Bruce Blankenfeld and the Polynesian Voyaging Society, spearheaded an idea to create never-before-painted, functional artwork on the vessels.
“We’re putting a pattern on the outside of the hale on the cabin of the Hikianalia and I am hand painting a constellation on the roof,” Hadar said.
The wave pattern helps to cut the blinding glare from the white paint on the hale, while the constellation also serves a purpose.
“It helps navigators find the next star moving forward, whether they are going north or south,” Rapozo said.
Preparations were underway Friday to make sure designs are pono and precise.
“And on the Hokulea we are painting the insides of the hatch covers. There’s 14 of them and they cover the hulls where the food and supplies are kept,” Hadar said.
The covers will be painted using designs depicting some of the destinations of the four-year long worldwide voyage. And up to 30 teens from the Pow Wow School of Art and 808 Urban will lend a helping hand to paint both canoes on Saturday.
“To get some of the kids involved in putting the designs physically on the canoe and learning about the history the stories the places that she sails to, and just turning it into an art and educational program,” Hadar said.
“To have them come on board and be a part of this voyage, we feel like they are definitely going to sail with us, the artists, and even the youngsters that help,” crew training coordinator and master navigator Bruce Blankenfeld said.
The project is expected to be complete by Saturday night.
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