There’s a vibrant new mural in the heart of Wailuku Town. The four-story painting on Main Street is dedicated to the launch of UVSC, the mission of which is to bring people together to provide a hopeful future for cancer patients.
The “Mural of Hope” celebrates Wailuku Town and features six-year-old Bree Haunani Michie Lau Hee, the daughter of Wailuku residents Ikaika and Keanu Lau Hee. The illustration of keiki represents hope and promise for the future. The blue hues reference the strength of life in water, flowing from Iao Valley in the distance, with floating protea flowers symbolizing the rising sun of Haleakala with a promise of a new day. The ti leaf plant represents healing, protection and blessings. The young girl weaves the leaves to illustrate the idea of community and support of one another. With a goal of bringing together a community to bravely help in this fight, this mural was created to always remind us to never give up in the battle against cancer.
The mural was completed for UVSC within one week by Australian artist David “MEGGS” Hooke and O‘ahu artist Kamea Hadar. UVSC was started by a few friends, including Maui boy Jamil Newirth, a cancer survivor. Jamil was diagnosed with a rare type of brain cancer called Glioblastoma and was given 17 months to live. After being given a treatment opportunity with a neurosurgeon at UCLA Medical Center, Jamil is now going on five years of being cancer-free.
“We are honored that ‘MEGGS’ and Kamea, both world-renowned artists, have created such an inspiring piece for Maui in support for UVSC,” said UVSC founder Newirth. “Their piece speaks volumes and I hope it will provide inspiration and happiness for everyone who sees it.”
The mural was blessed and celebrated on Saturday, Feb. 24 during the inaugural UVSC fundraiser “Paint & Pupus.” The event started with a traditional blessing of the mural by Halau Na Hanona Kulike O Pi‘ilani. Throughout the night, Chefs Sheldon Simeon of Tin Roof, Dave Caldiero of Town Kaimuki, Jojo Vasquez of Plantation House Restaurant and Greg Gifford of Duke’s Maui passed out pupus to guests. Live art pieces created on site by Kamea Hadar, Defer, Meggs and Lanakila Creations were auctioned off to support UVSC. Guests also enjoyed music, cocktails by 808 on Main and a silent auction at the community event to support the cause.
Newirth said he was inspired to start a nonprofit to help others in need after the community came together to support him through his battle against the disease; he felt it was something he had to do in return. UVSC raises funding for individuals and families battling the disease and supports cutting-edge research that provides hope when all feels lost.
The mural was curated by Temple Children in partnership with MAPA and the Wailuku community; the community art was made possible with the support the support of Maui Brewing Company, the Frost Family Foundation and Goodfellow Bros., Inc.
Photo: Mike Adrian