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“Mālamalama,” August 2021
Artists: Kamea Hadar and Cory Taum
Location: Science Adventure Center

Bishop Museum’s outdoor murals provide an immersive art experience that bridges traditional culture, creative expression, and indigenous perspectives. Each mural was completed in 2021 in conjunction with the special exhibit POW! WOW! The First Decade: From Hawaiʻi to the World showcases some of the most notable Hawai‘i-based artists, international street artists, and sculptors.

“Entitled ‘Mālamalama,’ which not only references a torch or guiding light, but also the light of the mind. The Museum holds within its walls an immense amount of history and culture, and it is this torch of knowledge that we hope to pass to our next generation. The three circles around the figure reference petroglyphs and the arching piʻo/ānuenue forms above the petroglyph, the three piko which represent past, present and future. Thank you to Cory for this awesome collaboration, one of the best I have ever had the honor of being a part of. Thank you to Bishop Museum for the opportunity and for being who and what they are, a beacon of light for the people of Hawaiʻi, the Pacific and the world. Thank you to Poʻiwena for being such a beautiful model, and to the whole Britland family. Thank you to Redefined Media for the awesome photos! And of course Keao Anthony (aka Stanford) for the help with all the math, measuring and left-brain stuff!” – Kamea Hadar

“For my portion of the mural I am using traditional Hawaiian patterns in a contemporary approach. These patterns are based on my participation in Pāuhi, Keone Nunes’ tattooing group, in which I am a student. Although these patterns are rooted in tradition, I do intentionally try to approach their use in a contemporary way. My thought is that our kūpuna would use these patterns “in the round,” wrapping three-dimensional forms, such as our bodies, with kākau uhi and kapa, or adorning our treasured items such as the ipu pāwehe. Because this mural is 2D and flat, I decided to compose the patterns radially as opposed to linearly, my philosophy being that the same juxtaposition of linear pattern vs. form can be acheived.

The topmost pattern is a play on “Lei Hala,” referencing the passing of time, and this girl’s connection to the “Present” through her manawa (Fontanel) .

The middle pattern is a play on a “Lā” pattern, a continuation of the thought of a “guiding light” and one’s connection to the “Past” through their piko (umbilical cord).

The bottommost pattern is another play on Lei Hala. The pattern is “incomplete,” in my own poetry that the time has not yet passed—the “Future.” This is juxtaposed with her hands, indicating the things this keiki will do for her people in her future.

I used an approach similar to ʻOhe Kāpala to achieve the multilayered feeling of Kapa, almost like the water marks seen in kapa. From a distance, this fine patterned surface gives the feeling of radiating, dancing light.

The color scheme is based on the ʻAlaea color, including a range of other earth tones found in Hawaiʻi.

Although the surrounding circles could be seen as a halo, my manaʻo behind these arches are referencing petroglyphs and the arching piʻo/ānuenue forms above the petroglyph (like the Bishop Museum Press logo). There is a repetition of three major arches referencing past, present, and future. I feel like the “crescent” is one of our most important forms, seen in the concept of Piʻo, Hoaka, Niho Palaoa, on ʻAhu ʻUla, the form of the Mahiole, the base of the Pahu, etc.- Cory Taum

Artist Bio: Kamea Hadar grew up in the worlds of his Japanese/Korean mother and Israeli father. He began studying drawing and painting from a young age. As a child he took classes at the Honolulu Art Academy and University of Hawaiʻi, and he spent periods living, studying and creating at the Sorbonne in Paris, University of St. Louis in Madrid and the University of Tel Aviv, Israel. He currently resides in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and is Co-Lead director of POW! WOW! Worldwide. Although Kamea’s work is based in traditional portraiture, it has evolved off of the canvas to large scale murals and installations that can be found in cities around the world. 

Kamea was one of the many featured local artists in the POW!WOW! The First Decade: From Hawai‘i to the World exhibition displayed at Bishop Museum May 15–Sept. 19, 2021.

Artist Bio: Cory Kamehanaokalā Holt Taum is a Hawaiian artist and active cultural practitioner sourcing his inspiration from the many stories and teachings of his ancestors and their relevance in today’s drastically changing Hawaiʻi. Cory is fascinated with the masterful, bold, and powerful visual forms and patterns developed by the original people of Hawaiʻi. He is best known for his iconic, large-scale paintings on a wide range of surfaces, from rusted metal to moss-covered concrete to an invasive Albezia tree. With the surfaces he chooses as his canvas, he hopes to encourage the viewer to question the current state of urbanization and its effect on the health of the land and the people of Hawaiʻi. Cory has worked on numerous large-scale community murals as well as participated in multiple artist residencies and international mural festivals throughout the Pacific.

Cory was one of the many featured local artists in the POW!WOW! The First Decade: From Hawai‘i to the World exhibition displayed at Bishop Museum May 15–Sept. 19, 2021.

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