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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Teens learn to appreciate art

 •  Volcanoes Park seeks new portraits of Pele

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

KANE'OHE — As legend goes, when Pele chased the Hawaiian pig god, Kamapua'a, into Kualoa Valley, he turned himself into a pig, bored a hole in the Kanehoalani Ridge and hid from the volcano goddess.

King Intermediate School students, clockwise from front center, Matthew Geritz, Adele Beppu, Emi Nakamura, Yukei Lam, Latiisha Gonzalez, Jenifer Guieb and Celeste Yee were among the teens who worked on the mural, which will be dedicated today.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Today, Samuel Wilder King Intermediate School will dedicate "Holo-a-pe'e" (run and hide), a ceramic mural depicting the chase. Students in Gail Aratani's gifted and talented art class worked on the project, which comprised 893 tiles over an area 10 feet by 24 feet. It was installed last month on the outside makai wall of the school's gym opposite the cafeteria.

Nine students began work on the project last summer. But they were unable to finish and had to complete the mural this school year, working after school and during spring break.

"I came away with more respect for the students because they were willing to put in the time and effort and all the hard work," said Aratani. "I couldn't have done it without them."

The project was challenging, the students said, and gave them insights into art and an appreciation for the process of creating something from scratch.

The students are Adele Beppu, Matt Geritz, Jenifer Guieb, Latiisha Gonzalez, Michael Krystoff, Phillip Krystoff, Yukei Lam, Emi Nakamura and Celeste Yee.

Celeste, a 14-year-old eighth-grader, said she also learned about the legend for the first time, though she has lived in Windward O'ahu most of her life.

"The hardest part was getting everything to match," Celeste said, adding that the simplest tiles took 10 minutes to paint, but painting the pig fur took as much as an hour.

The project was difficult because it was big and the students were working from little pictures, said eighth-grader Adele, 14. Not only did the students have to match colors, but getting the right amount of glaze on a tile was important or that, too, could throw the color off, Adele said.

The students are proud of their work, she said, adding that she has a different attitude about art because of the project.

"I'm not really into the whole art thing, but this made me change my mind because it was fun and I actually liked doing it," she said.

During the summer, the students met for about three hours a day, but the classes involved more than just painting tiles, said Latiisha, also a 14-year-old eighth-grader. The group learned about painting styles and techniques, about history and about the different cultures of the students in the class.

The students were pleasantly surprised at the end product, said Latiisha, who said she never considered herself an art student.

"As I was pushed by Miss Aratani, I learned I could do lots more stuff," she said. She learned one other thing, she said.

"Art takes you places."

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com or 234-5266.