SYMBOLISM AND CULTURAL CONTEXT: The word kipapa inspired the mural concept. KIPAPA means path or to pave the way, the way toward enlightenment. On either side of the Tree of Life, dedicated young hula students, Hiapo and his younger sister, Ku’uipo, stand on the strong hands of their kupuna’s (elders’) love and work. These are the great hands of the beloved elder, Uncle Herman Kanae. The hands also represent the past helping the children move beyond, and reach greater horizons than ever before. The two hula dancers, brother and sister Ku’uipo and Hiapo, represent all children dancing in the light. They also represent the present moment.
18’ by 14’, exterior stained glass mosaic on concrete
By artist Calley O’Neill with stained glass artisan, Lamar Yoakum, the fourth grade students, and community of Kipapa Elementary
KIPAPA AND THE PATH OF LIGHT is the first stained glass mosaic mural in Hawai’i, and a cultural landmark expressing the heart of Kipapa Elementary School, the oldest school in central Oahu.
The mural is singular in its design, spirit and technique. KIPAPA AND THE PATH OF LIGHT was designed with the community, according to their wishes, hopes and dreams. The mural reflects the school’s depth of aloha, ohana and the elders’ love and commitment to their youth. The mural is designed is to uplift the students, staff, environment, and the community.
MATERIALS and TECHNIQUE: The mural is crafted with fine handmade glass in streaky mixed Earth tones of golds, browns, greens, and blues. After looking the world over without success, Calley designed her own gold and platinum fused glass, and artisan/partner Lamar Yoakum cut each piece twice and fused them in the kiln. Following an ancient and labor intensive technique, the detailing of the hands and the children are hand painted in multiple glazes, and repeatedly fired in the kiln. The paint is literally ground glass and becomes permanently embedded into the glass.
Again looking the world over, Calley chose a fine handcrafted Mexican smalti for the children’s’ mosaic border squares (12”). Within a two-week period, under Calley’s enthusiastic direction, 115 Kipapa fourth graders and 50 adult volunteer from the school and community created a 50 square foot illuminated manuscript style mosaic border.