Kaulana Nā Wai ʻEhā (Famous are the four streams)

by Cory Kamehanaokalā Taum

Wailuku, USA – February 2019


Finding This Mural

2085 Main St, Wailuku, HI 96793

Google Map

Story Behind This Mural

Artist Statement

This piece is my tribute to the four famous streams of west Maui and the importance of the Ahupuaʻa system in both traditional times and even more so, today. The idea is to give the viewer the birds eye view of the Wailuku valley and river, and the sea at Kaʻehu bay.  I believe in these crucial times we must look from this view to realize and understand the effects of our actions and the importance of protecting what precious resources we still have before it is too late. The textures of the mountain valley and the ocean hope to share how the original people of this land were very aware of the importance of the patterns in nature that surrounds us; from the visual patterns found on many life forms around us, to the cycles in the earth and sky. The bold panel of pattern the runs through the middle of the composition represents each of these stream systems, Waikapū , Wailuku , Waiehu , and Waiheʻe, running from the watershed all the way down the ocean. The center image is a 'Hue wai', a traditional Hawaiian water gourd, an item that was once an very important part of life when the resource of water was understood as the one of greatest riches in life. The patterning on the gourd eludes to the pool of fresh water high in the Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui Mountains), known as 'KiʻowaioKihawahine', and the traditional spiritual understanding of the role and importance of the goddess Kihawahine (Lizard Woman).  The bird motif is a contemporary pattern inspired by the only endemic seabird to Hawaii, the ʻAʻo (Newells Shearwater),  who begin their life high on the slopes of Mauna Kahalawai, then eventually travel out throughout the Pacific Ocean.

The Focus

Mauka to Makai

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