Local artist creates larger than life mural honoring 2 of Hawaii’s Olympians

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Those who have driven by the intersection of South King and Pensacola streets recently may have noticed something new in the neighborhood. 

From a distance, people can see Duke Kahanamoku — the godfather of modern-day surfing — peaking around the building only to unveil the Hawaiian flag wrapped around the shoulders of the world’s first Olympic gold medalist in surfing, Hawaii’s own Carissa Moore. 

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KHON2 got the chance to check out some behind-the-scenes action. Those who see the mural may be in awe for a little bit. From a distance, it is grand but up close and personal, the mural appears very life-like.

To find out more about this grand mural, KHON2 spoke with the artist, Kamea Hadar, from POW! WOW! Hawaii.

As people are driving down the road, the first thing they see is this mural — it catches their attention. 

KHON2 asked: Why do this right now?

“Honestly, the inspiration for this piece is just watching the Olympics and watching Carissa win gold,” said Hadar. “I have a 5-year-old daughter, and she’s one of my daughter’s heroes. And telling her story wouldn’t be complete without telling Duke’s story. It just snowballed into this gigantic mural.”

The mural really captures the sense of pride that Hadar shares and is all about, as well as that sense of place of being in Hawai’i and Carissa really bringing surfing to a global platform. 

KHON2 also asked Hadar: What is it then are you hoping, I mean, especially being across from the school, what is your hopes that this instills in the passersby who come across this?

“Honestly, two things. Hawai’i is the birthplace of surfing, and surfing as a vehicle for people like Carissa and, even, myself to travel the world and spread the Aloha spirit. I think, secondly, you can inspire people and dreams do come true. Over 100 years ago, Duke was in the Olympics, and his dream was to have surfing in the Olympics. And over 100 years later, his dream has been realized. I very much wanted to have the focal points be Carissa and Duke and how they realized their dreams and what they represent as people to the state of Hawai’i.”

Kamea HADAR, THE MURAL’S ARTIST

KHON2 then asked: One of the big questions, first and foremost, for those who are not artists is, how do you take something that you may have sketched on a piece of paper — if sketched at all — and then put that on a large scale like this?

“Well, you see that piece of paper right there, that little reference, we have tons of little pieces of paper like that and we have stuff on our phones,” explained Hadar. “I think it’s like any journey or any mountain that you want to climb — and Mt. Everest. You just take it one step at a time; so, today we are going to just do part of the flag, her nose, his ears. And after a month of hanging off the side of a building, hopefully, you get a nice mural.”

This vibrant piece of art is expected to be completed by Friday, Nov. 12. 

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In relation to this mural and something to take note of, the Bishop Museum will also debut a new display featuring Duke Kahanamoku and Carissa Moore, as well as hosting the world premiere of the film called “Waterman” about Duke Kahanamoku.  For more information, click here.

For more information on POW! WOW! HAWAII, click here.

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