Client: Small Town Big Art
Location: Wailuku, HI, United States
Completion date: 2020
Jessica Kay Bodner
Public art Specialist
Kelly McHugh White
Small Town Big Art
My concept for this project was to create a large scale sculpture inspired by the ancient traditional Hawaiian “Hina’i “ (basket fish trap) used by the Iawai’a (fisherman). Hand sculpted in my upcountry studio in reclaimed and new steel materials which are woven and welded to create a dramatic oversized version of a “Hina’I”, a reclaimed concrete block was chosen as a base courtesy of the county of Maui. . A reminder and memory of the Native Hawaiians tie to the land and sea and one of the few fishing methods that women and children were allowed to participate in. A sculpture that created a sense of place and brought vibrancy to the local streetscape, encouraging visitors to eat, shop and play in the burgeoning and up-and-coming revitalized historical Maui town of Wailuku, the gateway to the Iao valley, ancient Hawaiians center of power and population.
To create a sense of place, brighten and enliven and encourage the public to feel safe and shop, dine and enjoy the revitalized Wailuku town while also learning about the history and culture of this significant landmark town on Maui
From initial concept to final installation and blessing by a local elder, Kelly and her team guided and inspired me to create this commemorative Sculpture that gives a visual reminder of ancient Hawaiian culture.
A collaboration of the National Endowment of the Arts, County of Maui and Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART is a creative placemaking pilot project with a mission to develop Wailuku, Hawaiʻi as a public arts district that is focused on its distinctive sense of place, history and culture. Engaging the public in both the process and the product, monthly art experiences are paired with activities such as talk story sessions, artist workshops, public rehearsals and more. This project was made possible by the tireless efforts and brainstorming of three inspiring and empowering women: Erin Wade, County of Maui Kelly McHugh, Public Art Specialist Sissy Lake-Farm, Hale Hō'ikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society