In the middle of Ala Moana (between the shopping center and Ward Center) is a mural painted on the side of a building. Like many murals, you wouldn’t notice it unless you’re oriented correctly. It was difficult for us even when we were looking for it. The work is a masterpiece of trompe l’oeil as part of a project led by John Pugh, the great artist who has several public works in other parts of the U.S. as well as one in Rotorua, NZ. The panel displays two historic Hawaiian figures, Queen Liliuokalani and the great surfer Duke Kahanamoku, painted on a curved glass surface featuring a huge wave that is cresting on top, a portion of which appears to be reaching through a skylight. Along the right side, a painted window, through which someone appears to be looking out toward the wave, and a doorway give a strange illusion. But, the most masterful depiction/illusion is a group of children, serenely looking up at the queen and seeming about to be engulfed by the wave.
How appropriate that today should be April Fool’s Day.
|Mana Nalu Mural Project
401 Kamake’e St.
(painted on the southeast-facing wall toward the parking structure)