Courtesy: Calley O'Neill
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Kipapa and the Path of Light

Mililani, Hawaii

Calley O'Neill (

Kipapa Elementary School, 95-076 Kipapa Drive, Mililani, Hawaii, 96789
Date:  2012, 2014
Placement:  schools (buildings)
Artwork Type:  mosaics (visual works)
Material:  stained glass (material), glass (material)
Description:  KIPAPA and the PATH of LIGHT at Kipapa Elementary School Is Hawai’i’s first stained glass mural (18’6’ by 14’). After the idea of a mural was conceived by former Kipapa teacher Susan Kam in 2009, this State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Art in Public Places commissioned work of art was designed and created by selected Big Island artist, Calley O’Neill over a two-year period. Inspired by the input of her committee, Kipapa’s spirit of place and the extraordinary, dedicated Kipapa staff, the design emerged from the place and its people. The mural centers on the theme of KIPAPA as they described it: a pathway to knowledge and enlightenment.

The 3,000 handcrafted stained glass pieces include fused glass designed by the artist, and hand painted fired detailing. The school colors of brown and gold, and the colors of Earth and sky predominate in the mural’s color harmony.

With Calley’s direction, 115 Kipapa fourth graders and over 60 local adult volunteers from all walks of life, from the principal to the head janitor to parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and teachers created the beautiful smalti mosaic border. Their mandalas of Earth, Air, Fire and Water took approximately 15,000 pieces of hand made smalti from Perdomo, Mexico

The focal point is the KUKUI, Hawai’i’s state tree ~ a tree of life, symbolic of light, harmony, peace and knowledge. The circular mandala symbolizes culture, wholeness, and cycles of life, the island of Oahu and the Earth. The circle above the tree symbolizes the source and oneness of life.

Two young hula dancers, Hiapo and Ku’uipo, (Kipapa alumni) dance on the strong foundation of their elders ~ the hands of Uncle Herman Kanae. The students are the conduits of their ancestors, their history and its progression as they move into and create the future. They are connected to the water, sky, Earth, culture, ohana and school. They are connected to their dreams and can move steadily toward them. Supported by Heaven and Earth, everything is possible if we believe it is and act accordingly.

A universal symbol of aloha, the pineapples anchor the corners, as the hard work on the pineapple plantations anchored and supported the community of old.

The kalo, first-born son of the Hawaiians, is symbolic of the Earth’s sustenance for the people. It grows, holding fast the culture, the land and nourishment for good health. The leaves and the corms are robust and strong for the people.

2014, September 30, North Hawaii News, Calley O’Neill: Art for Everybody, cover story and center page spread

2014, March 5, Midweek Magazine, Oahu, Kipapa article, photo essay

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