Art in Public Places: Ke Kanu Nei I Ka Ulu Hala

August 6, 2021
“Ke Kanu Nei I Ka Lauhala” at Keaʻau Elementary School

“Ke Kanu Nei I Ka Ulu Hala”, a bronze sculpture by Viliami Tolutaʻu, was dedicated today at Keaʻau Elementary School. The sculpture symbolizes the nurturer in the lives of our keiki, someone who commits to providing all that is necessary for a healthy future and supports continued growth for the community. She kneels to connect with the ‘āina and with the keiki that she meets to build pilina (a relationship). The hala plant is significant to this area of Puna. The art of lauhala weaving illustrates the unity of the Kea‘au community and its diverse ethnicities of the broader district of Puna and of Moku o Keawe (Hawai‘i Island).

Mahalo nui loa to Keaʻau Elementary School, artist ‘Asipeli “Viliami” Havea Tolutaʻu, and the Art Advisory Committee (Stacey Bello, Principal; Iwalani Harris, Kaʻū/Keaʻau/Pāhoa Complex Area Education Specialist; Lisa Tom, Kumu; David Alipio, Kumu; Meidor Hu, Visual Arts Consultant) Kimo Awai, Kūpuna, and the students and teachers who helped make this commissioned work of art possible.

The dedication ceremony was conducted virtually and made available to classrooms via live video feed.

“Ke Kanu Nei I Ka Ulu Hala”, bronze sculpture by Viliami Tolutaʻu, 2021. Art in Public Places Collection of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA).

People standing next to a bronze statue. The statue is adorned with fresh lei.
Image: people standing next to a bronze sculpture adorned with fresh lei. The sculpture depicts a kneeling figure, holding a hala seedling and looking upward. People in photo, from left to right: Chad Keone Farias, Ka’ū-Kea‘au-Pāhoa Complex Area Superintendent; Kamakani Konia, SFCA Art in Public Places Program Project Manager; Alex Skees, SFCA Art in Public Places Program Project Manager; Viliami Tolutaʻu, artist; Stacey Bello, Principal; and Jonathan Johnson, SFCA Executive Director.

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