Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, June 4, 2002

'Storyteller' dedication set at Kapalama school

By Chris Oliver
Advertiser Staff Writer

Storytellers come in all sizes and are part of most cultures. Their role involves passing information, legends, myths and truths from one generation to another.

Kay Mura's "The Storyteller"
When Kay Mura's sculpture "The Storyteller" is dedicated at 9 this morning at Kapalama Elementary School, "she" will "warmly welcome children to gather and listen to stories of Kapalama," Mura said. "Her stories, carved in relief on the surrounding stools, tell about Kapalama School, the children, the curriculum, it's multi-ethnic makeup, how the old neighborhood was before Kapalama School and the meaning of the area to the ancient Hawaiians."

Mura's larger-than-life concrete and ceramic sculpture is part of the Art in Public Places-Artists in Residence project established by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and Department of Education. Among its goals are to enhance public buildings and spaces throughout the state and bring awareness of the visual arts to the public.

"The Storyteller" weighs more than a ton and measures 6 1/2 feet high by seven feet from back to toes. Seated in the playground, waiting at every recess, "The Storyteller" waits for children to sit on her lap.

"One of the big challenges was to make ("The Storyteller") both safe and workable as a playground piece," Mura said. "If you can think of it, children will do it."

Another challenge was materials: "Normally, sculptors use a steel armature to create a form" made of concrete, Mura said. "But a big problem with sculptures in Hawai'i is 'spalling,' " a process in which salt in the air cause the steel to rust inside concrete.

To counter spalling, Mura used concrete and nylon mesh over foam , more commonly used for building construction than for art pieces.

Though neither she nor artist Mike Harada — who helped Mura with the construction — had worked with this combination of materials before, Mura said they are pleased with the result.

Painted and decorated with Mura's hand-made ceramic tiles, "The Storyteller" waits, ready with her tales for the next generation.