Local artist finishes mural honoring Hokulea’s homecoming

After a month of hard work, a large mural to honor Hokulea’s homecoming is now complete.

Kamea Hadar has finished his largest mural to date on the side of the Halawa View Apartments building in Aiea.

It depicts the Hawaiian moon goddess, Hina, who is believed to have guided sailors with the moon and the stars when they were out at sea.

“Usually there is a lit side of the face and a shadowed side of the face, so I always start with the eye that is lit and then work my way over and then down the bridge of the nose, and then around the lips and then the cheeks and the chin. I have a very specific order that I like to do my things in,” Hadar explained.

Hadar says having a 14-story building as his canvas was challenging, as his work took him to new heights — literally.

“The scariest part is when you have to move the lift because it moves, it shakes. You hear the motors just clicking away and you’re kind of like, sometimes you feel like, ‘It sounds weird. It sounds different today.’ Sometimes there’s high wind and it kind of pushes you around. There’s always a worry,” Hadar said. “But I feel like the fact that I’m scared of heights and I faced that fear, one, it was a big accomplishment, but two, I think it keeps you on guard. You’re doing safety checks on all the equipment every morning, every afternoon. I tend to go overboard with myself and my crew as far as safety is concerned, so it’s a good thing.”

Hadar says he could not have painted the mural without the support of the community, including the building’s owner, Pacific Development Group, sponsor OluKai, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, his model, Mahina Garcia, and Mason Rose, the photographer who took her photo.

“The pose, the number of stars that she has on her dress, all of those things mean something, and all of those things I did a lot of research myself and talked to a lot of advisers who helped me quite a bit,” he said. “Actually the lei po‘o, which is the headdress, I was advised by Kuhao Zane, he’s Sig Zane’s son, and obviously his mom is a really, really well-known legendary lady in their halau on the Big Island.

“The lei po‘o actually has hina hina, a type of hina hina from Molokai, and the spires are ahinahina, which is silversword, and then there’s eight spires,” Hadar continued. “The Statue of Liberty has seven. She has eight in here, because eight is a very special number to the Hawaiians, one of which there’s eight gaps between your fingers and if the village would go fishing together, you would pinch the tails of the fish between your fingers, and if you were offered eight fish, it’s as much as you could carry, so it was considering the full offering.”

The local artist also joined Wake Up 2day to talk about his work, his favorite parts of the mural, and his biggest challenge. Watch the video for his full interview.

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