Lifestyle

Local Artist Completes New Mural in Hilo

May 14, 2021, 1:42 PM HST
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Toyota Hawaii and Big Island Toyota have partnered with Temple Children to commission its first large-scale mural in Hilo, which was painted by Hilo-based artist Kristie Kosmides over several weeks in April.

The mural, overlooking the Hilo Famer’s Market, tells a story of mobility and the role it plays in promoting sustainability and moving resources where needed. Kosmides drew inspiration from produce grown and sold at the farmer’s markets and the roads that it travels on to get there.

Hilo Farmers Market Mural
(L-R) Councilmember Ashley Kierkiewicz, County of Hawaii; Kristie Kosmides, artist; Kai’ili Kaulukukui, muralist; Miya Tsukazaki, Temple Children, Councilmember Aaron Chung, County of Hawaii; Charlene Iboshi, community member. PC: SERVCO

“As I paint this mural, I think of this challenging year we had, the loved ones we have lost and the uncertainties we face. I feel as a community we have worked together and supported one another, and those efforts make a difference,” Kosmides said. “My inspiration for this piece was to create something that could be enjoyed by all ages from keiki to kūpuna, that would put a smile on people’s faces and give the viewer a feeling of hope and happiness as they enter into downtown Hilo.”

The mural is approximately 130 feet wide by 30 feet tall and is located on the side of the building owned by Reuben Villanueva and Hank Correa at the intersection of Mamo Street and Kamehameha Ave. Honoring Hilo’s agricultural history, the mural pays homage to the Big Island’s unique culture and spirit.

“This mural speaks to our vibrant, resilient community and was a long time in the making,” said Miya Tsukazaki of Temple Children. “It took the right team of people and support from local businesses – I am honored to help facilitate something that is both uplifting and hopeful for our keiki and greater Hilo community.”

“We are honored to provide artists a platform where they can share their gift in ways that enrich our community,” said Jackie De Luz, president of Big Island Toyota. “Telling larger than life stories in this way is a powerful tool to share our culture and help engage communities around important topics such as food sustainability.”

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Vibrant, floating fruits such as papaya, starfruit, dragonfruit, citrus, cacao, vanilla bean and coffee beans reference the vast array of crops cultivated on island. Images of kalo (taro), ‘uala (sweet potato), mai‘a (banana) niu (coconut), ko (sugarcane) and ‘ulu (breadfruit) patterned throughout the artwork commemorate the vital canoe plants of Hawai‘i and their cultural and ecological significance to Big Island sustainability as the lifeblood of island society. The half-cut fruit and vegetables are depicted like wheels or bubbles to illustrate movement and joy.

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Pops of the iconic and endemic ʻōhiʻa lehua flower celebrates its moʻolelo (stories) and the myriad of purposes and uses of the ʻōhiʻa trees in ancient society. The orchid graphics, a quintessential image of East Hawai‘i, are a nod to the Big Island’s nickname as ‘The Orchid Isle’ and its notable history of orchid production and export. Views of Hilo Bay and windy sugar plantation roads in the backdrop recall the past, present and future as a sustainable and resilient island ‘ohana that will persevere through unprecedented times.

Kosmides’ Mobility for All mural, sponsored by Toyota Hawaii and Big Island Toyota, is the artist’s largest mural to date. Additional support for the mural was provided by HPM Hawaii, Takamine Construction and Novo Painting.

“We are honored to provide artists a platform where they can share their gift in ways that enrich our community,” said Jackie De Luz, president of Big Island Toyota. “Telling larger than life stories in this way is a powerful tool to share our culture and help engage communities around important topics such as food sustainability.”

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