The Academy invites you to Academy Art Center at Linekona to see two explosive murals by legendary graffiti artists Estria (aka Estria Miyashiro) and Prime (aka John Hina, a member of 808urban). We send them a heartfelt thank you for donating their talent and time to create the works on formerly drab shipping containers at the Academy Art Center at Linekona.
Both artists are committed to working with youth and doing community outreach. For their piece “Kahu” (Guardian), pictured above, the duo wanted to preserve a part of Hawaii’s past while respecting the integrity of contemporary graffiti muralism (must have concept, letters, characters, background). According to Estria and Prime, the arrows represent battle-mode in graffiti, and the downward pointing triangles are a symbol of affection in Hawaiian tattoos.
“Much of the beauty and magic surrounding Hawaii’s past is usually retold in hula or music, but not in graffiti murals,” says Prime regarding their choice of subject matter.
Here is background on the work from the collaborators: The guardian sharks of Pu’uloa were Ka’ahupahau and her brother, Kahi’uka. These guardians were benevolent gods who were cared for and worshiped by the people; and who aided fishermen, and drove off man-eating sharks. Ka’ahupahau may mean “Well-cared for Feather Cloak” (the feather cloak was a symbol of royalty). Kahi’uka means “Smiting Tail”; his shark tail was used to strike at enemy sharks. He also used his tail to strike fishermen as a warning that unfriendly sharks had entered Pu’uloa. Ka’ahupahau lived in an underwater cave in Honouliuli lagoon (West Loch). Kahi’uka lived in an underwater cave off Moku’ume’ume (Ford Island) near Keanapua’a Point at the entrance of East Loch.
A US Navy dry dock over the old home of Ka’ahupahau collapsed shortly after it was built. Engineers claimed earth tremors prevented any structure from resting upon the bottom, but Hawaiians believe that “The smiting tail” still guards the blue lagoon at Pearl Harbor.
In ancient times Ka’ahupahau established the law that no shark shall kill a human being in her waters. Only in recent times have sharks been known to bite people in O’ahu waters.
Pu’uloa: Where Once There Was Life… [an excerpt]
Aia nui nā kahawai i laila … koe kaka’ikahi nō.
There were many streams … only a few remain.
Aia nā i’a hāmau leo o ‘Ewa i ulu ai… he mō’alihaku
There the pearl oysters thrived … now fossils.
Aia ‘o Ka’ahupahau i Pu’uloa … Ua pa’a ka hale
There lived Ka’ahupahau, the shark at Pu’uloa … her home is closed.
—Shad, December 1, 2008
“Foremost in all our thoughts should be the care of this land of our ancestors.”
After completing “Kahu,” Estria and Prime generously decided to paint a second shipping container, creating a vibrant design utilizing their names (pictured below). The latest addition to our contemporary art holdings!