Your Views for June 3

Mural cuts like a dagger

I have always been a supporter of the arts. In particular, community arts. But, the mural recently installed at the Pahoa High &Intermediate School is traumatizing.


The mural is three-stories tall, featuring an erupting volcano and an ohia tree amid a red sky. Ironically, the red plume is in the shape of a heart.

I can only imagine how the residents of Leilani Estates feel to have to drive by this mural every day on the way home.

I am a Kapoho resident. I lost my home on June 4, 2018, as did many of my neighbors. The month leading up to our evacuation was a nightmare. Ours nights where filled with the ominous red sky. I could see it outside of my bedroom window every night. It looked like Hell had cracked open.

The mural brought back all of those memories. The way the sky looked. The way the air smelled. The sounds of the lava crackling and exploding in the distance. The persistent shaking of the ground. But worse, the sounds of the birds at night. The sounds of tension and not knowing.

Even after we evacuated, I could still see the red sky at night. Ominous and threatening.

I do not know what the board that approved this mural was thinking. So much of us lost everything. Our homes, our sense of belonging, our community. But on top of that, we lost Kapoho. We lost Green Mountain, Green Lake, Wai‘opae Tidepools and Kapoho Bay.

Ohia are the first native trees to appear on a barren lava field. Why not celebrate the rebirth, the renewal of life after destruction. After the red sky subsided.

Painting an homage to the destruction that befell Leilani, Kapoho and all the other communities along the East Rift Zone is like a dagger to our hearts.


Sylvia Wan


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