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Latest public art piece in Wailuku to be unveiled

The Maui News

Wailuku’s latest public showpiece under the Small Town Big Art initiative will be unveiled during a blessing at 10 a.m. Monday at the Imua Discovery Garden.

“Wailuku Wings” was developed over the course of four months by sculptor Bobby Zokaites, who was selected by a community jury as part of a 2021 call to artists.

“I hope that articulating the voice and vision of the Imua communities in a sculptural aesthetic that is bold, colorful and enduring will provide an iconic visual statement of vibrancy, imagination and connection,” Zokaites said in a news release. “It is integral to my practice that my work connects people to one another and their community in new ways, creating new and lasting experiences.”

Per the Small Town Big Art public art-making process, Zokaites worked with local community members, including nonprofit directors and local historians, to design a blueprint of his sculpture for review.

Zokaites then composed his 8-foot sculpture with steel framing and colorful polyurethane paneling from his Tempe, Ariz. Studio and shipped it to Wailuku, where it will be assembled this week with the help of local artist Michael Takemoto.

Under the guidance of the Maui Historical Society’s Sissy Lake-Farm, Zokaites selected the following olelo no’eau to further root his piece in a sense of place: “I mohala no ka Lehua i ke ke’eke’ehi ‘ia e ka ua,” which means that “lehua blossoms unfold because the rains tread upon them. It is the rain that brings forth the lehua blossoms. So do gentle words bring forth much that is desired.”

“The work is dedicated in honor of two children who are no longer with us — Will Smith and Charlie Naylor,” explained Dean Wong, executive director of Imua Family Services. “Thanks to the loving support of their mother, Susan Naylor, the wings project was able to take flight. She is reminded that her children were the wings that have carried her to help children not only here on Maui, but around the world.”

The blessing will be held on the former Yokouchi Estate property located at 2471 W. Main St., coinciding with the launch of Imua Family Services’ inaugural Butterfly Festival and the kick-off of the garden’s open hours. The public will be able to view the sculpture and the garden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, with closures for holidays and special events. Only street parking is available.

To register for Monday’s event, visit imuagarden.org/ butterfly.

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