Wailuku’s latest public centerpiece under the Small Town Big Art initiative will be unveiled during a benediction at 10 a.m. Monday at Imua Discovery Garden.
“Wailuku Wings” was developed over four months by sculptor Bobby Zokaites, who was selected by a community jury through a 2021 call for artists.
“I hope the articulation of the voice and vision of Imua communities in a bold, colorful and enduring sculptural aesthetic will provide an iconic visual statement of vibrancy, imagination and connection”, Zokaites said in a press release. “It is integral to my practice that my work connects people with each other and their community in new ways, creating new and lasting experiences.”
Using the Small Town Big Art public art creation process, Zokaites worked with members of the local community, including directors of non-profit organizations and local historians, to design a blueprint of his sculpture for consideration. .
Zokaites then composed his 8-foot sculpture with a steel frame and colored polyurethane panels from his studio in Tempe, Arizona, and shipped it to Wailuku, where it will be assembled this week with the help of the local artist Michael Takemoto.
Under the guidance of Sissy Lake-Farm of the Maui Historical Society, Zokaites selected the following olelo no’eau to further ground their piece in a sense of place: “I mohala no ka Lehua I ke ke’eke’ehi ‘ia e ka ua,” which means that “The lehua flowers unfurl because the rains trample them. It is the rain that produces lehua flowers. So sweet talk produces 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 off. She is reminded that her children were the wings that carried her to help children not only here on Maui, but around the world.
The blessing will take place at the former Yokouchi Estate property located at 2471 W. Main St., coinciding with the launch of Imua Family Services’ first Butterfly Festival and the launch of the garden’s hours of operation. The public can view the sculpture and garden from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with closures for holidays and special events. Only street parking is available.
To register for Monday’s event, go to imuagarden.org/butterfly.