Hawai'i Ka'u Kumu (Hawai'i is My Teacher)
Hawai’i Ka’u Kumu (Hawai’i is my teacher) A Mural on the Spirit of Growth and Learning Then and Now, 1982 (16’ X 27’ each) Politec acrylic glaze painting on exterior concrete walls.  The University of Hawai’i’s 75th Anniversary Murals, The Campus Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai’i   

This was Calley's first major public commission in Hawai’i.  It was an intensive two-year journey of study, research, and experience within the Hawaiian culture, hula, work with many apprentices, and thousands of hours of painting.  This study became the foundation of all of Calley's work in Hawaiian cultural murals and mythological paintings. 
Hawai’i Ka’u Kumu (Hawai’i is my teacher) A Mural on the Spirit of Growth and Learning Then and Now, 1982 The University of Hawai’i’s 75th Anniversary Murals, The Campus Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai’i   (16’ X 27’ each) Politec acrylic glaze painting on exterior concrete walls.
Calley's hand-written legend for the Kahiko (ancient) left side of the mural.
Email Calley:  Calley@CalleyO'Neill.com
Hawai'i is my Teacher, legend by Calley O'Neill
Calley had the great honor to fly to the island of Moloka’i courtesy of Dr. Noa Emmet Aluli of Moloka’i to meet with and interview Auntie Rachael Naki, a pure Hawaiian taro farmer.  Emmet also took Calley on a boat, a swim and a hike to the little boy, Sammy’s home to experience his Hawaiian family life and out in the wilderness.
Pictured here are kalo (taro) the staple food, uala (sweet potato vines) and moa, (chicken).
Calley studied hula with Kumu Hula Braddah Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett quite intensely.  That is a wonderful story in and of itself.  Suffice it to say that Braddah guided Calley in the protocols of the culture and the way to picture the culture in art.  For this and his extraordinary and immensely challenging, comprehensive teaching Calley is eternally grateful.  Braddah and his top haumana (students) are pictured in the mural in a kahiko (ancient) hula.  Mahalo Braddah!   Calley’s dear friend and neighbor, Louise Kaiulani Sausen and her daughter Lehua posed for the auana (modern) side of the mural.  It was Kaiulani that introduced Calley to her kumu, Braddah Frank Hewett.
Hawai’i Ka’u Kumu (Hawai’i is my teacher) A Mural on the Spirit of Growth and Learning Then and Now, by Calley O'Neill, 1982 (16’ X 27’ each) Politec acrylic glaze painting on exterior concrete walls.  The University of Hawai’i’s 75th Anniversary Murals, The Campus Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai’i   (Drawing)
Hawai'i is my Teacher, legend by Calley O'Neill
Calley spent countless hours in the Bishop Museum Photo Archives pouring through hundreds of old photographs in different subject areas such as fishing, plaiting, planting, thatching and everyday life.  This comes from an old sepia tone photograph that Calley fell in love with.
UH has a beautiful taro patch that at the time was mentored by Maui taro farmer/teacher and beloved kupuna (elder) Uncle Harry Kunihi Mitchell (1919 – 1990) from Keanae, Maui, shown here with two of his Haumana (students).  Uncle Harry’s taro patch at Keanae was painted on the kahiko (ancient) wall.  Uncle Harry was trained in Hawaiian healing and dedicated his life to the health and well being of the Hawaiian people.  At the bottom of the mural:  Calley’s friend and neighbor, Neil Izumi with Chad, Kaiulani’s son.
The murals attracted an excellent team of skilled volunteers to paint stones, plants, dark backgrounds and water.  The dark green backgrounds required a dozen layers of paint to achieve the rich forest green.  Pictured here are Calley’s top painting apprentices for the project.  The artist still sends gratitude out to these and the other people who helped grind the walls, including her dear brother, Rick Calley, her dear friend Ted Rauschic and many other UH students and community artists.  The two year long project would have taken three years without their help and dedication!  From the left: Kihi Haoa from Rapanui (Easter Island) On the top of the scaffolding, Linda Hsu from Taiwan To the right, Teresa Ho from China
The Hawaiians of old were farmers, not fighters.  They were highly skilled horticulturists who knew exactly what to plant when with precisely what mulch, and without the benefit of seasonal flooding provided their people with the healthiest diet in all Polynesia.
This shows the glaze painting work in progress.  The glazes are translucent and build color and vibrancy by multiple layering.
Calley’s dear friend and neighbor, Louise Kaiulani Sausen and her daughter Lehua posed for the auana (modern) side of the mural.  It was Kaiulani that introduced Calley to her kumu, Braddah Frank Hewett.
The Ko’olau’s – atop Palolo Valley, Oahu Kuahiwi, term for backbone or mountain range.  Wau – THE WILD, a place distant and not often visited by man. Wau KELE – Forest of trees and tree ferns under an almost perpetual cloud and rain cover.   WAU AKUA – Remote, awesome forest of the gods, source of super-natural influences, good and evil.    WAU LA’AU – Inland forested region, often a veritable jungle, above kula (grasslands) WAU KANAKA – Reaches most accessible and valuable to the people.
Wahine ulana (women plaiting) Women in old Hawaii plaited fine mats of carefully prepared lauhala leaves.  They were masters of kapa cloth making, dying, decorating, and fashioning into soft, washable, long-lasting and handsome garments.  Aside from excellence in many botanical arts, they were the shellfish, salt and seaweed gatherers, and the tenders of sweet potatoes and children.
WAUKE PAPER MULBERY Trees grew near where the water flowed.  The bark, (inner) was the finest raw material available for kapa cloth making.  The bark was scraped, soaked, and beaten by the women in a most extraordinary transformation.  The resulting cloth was dyed in any of a rainbow of colors – the “watermarks” of the decorative beaters showed through.
BRADDAH FRANK HEWETT’S HALAU HĀ means to breath, LAU means multiply.  Halau indicates the passing on of knowledge, and knowledge (the substance of the spirit of growth and learning) ~ does not end.  Through serious study of the Hula and art associated with nature and all of her entirety, students learned kuli’a i ka nu’u, to strive toward perfection.  Students learned to malama (take care of)… the Earth, each other, one’s possessions.  The goal is to find one self – the means was the very rigorous, meaningful and powerful dance form called hula.  Students were chosen at age 3 for a Halau, and then began to study the 97 basic steps before beginning to dance, years later.
Here, ANCIENT FISH FARMERS pound ‘auhuhu (a slender shrubby legume whose leaves yielded a juice to stupefy fish for ready catching.  HAWAIIANS to a greater extent than any other Polynesians, exhibited sharp engineering and building skills, ingenuity, industry and planning, and organizational ability in 3 areas of construction.  1)  grading and building of surfaces for growing wet taro,  2)  design and construction of irrigation systems and aqueducts, and 3) the construction of saltwater fish ponds.  Their permanent stone structures resisted tremendous pressure of running water, as well as storm and tidal waves.
HŌKŪLEʻA SAIL Using absolutely no navigating instruments, relying instead on maritime instincts, their eyes, stars, and other natural phenomena, the Polynesians made the 2000+ mile run from their South Seas home to Hawai’i by trailing the Kolea (a migratory plover) riding “downhill” trade winds, and fixing on two key stars – Sirius and Hokulea (Arcturus), noted for its bright redness.  These celestial navigation skills were taught through experience and the spoken word – Insight Guides - Hawaii
KALO – Taro, was considered more sacred than even humankind, for Kalo was the first son of the impregnation of Father Sky and Mother Earth. Kalo, with more than 300 varieties, reached its highest state of cultivation in Hawai’i.  It was normally cultivated by men. With kalo as their staple, the Hawaiians had a diet which was nutritionally superior to that of any other Polynesian people.  Fish, poi, fresh green leafy vegetables, fruits and coconut were the fruits of their ingenious polyculture of plants and animals. Children learned these and other survival skills – knowledge of shelter, clothing the seas, cooperation with Nature, the Gods and the mystic presence of all that is life.  “All this s/he learned.  Respected elders were his teachers.  The spoken word and the long memories of seniors were his texts.” From NĀNĀ I KE KUMU (look to the Source).
Mahi ‘ai – taro farmer Old Hawaiian planters had remarkably large, broad and toughly padded hands and feet. O’O – digging stick – the only other crucial horticultural tool, aside from hands and feet. Kahuna ho ‘oulu ai – farming masters From the word, ‘ai, also comes the word ‘aina, meaning ‘that which feeds’, used to express the land, a term coined by an agricultural people.
PUHALA – Pandanas grew wild along windward coasts and lower valleys, and was also planted from seed near houses.  The long, tough, pliable leaves were dried, bleached, and scraped to soften the fibers for use in house thatch for plaiting by the highly skilled women into fine mats, satchels, baskets, garments, hats, kites, sails, and the like.  In many areas of their botanical arts, Hawaiians were unparalleled.  They were excellent weavers, and “their feather work and kapa are still considered to be the best known.  They created the most exquisite of fine art works and personal adornments found anywhere in Polynesia.  The most diverse…was adornment of the body, whether in fantastic necklaces, headbands and anklets, wrought of flowers, nuts, seeds, shells, ivory, teeth, turtle shell, human hair, and other natural materials, or actual tattooing, blistering or burning of designs into the skin.”  Insight Guides – Hawaii.
Kukui – candle nut tree Great groves of kukuis grew in the gulches of cliffs, spectacular, especially on the night of a full  moon, in their pale, silvery foliage.  The nuts were strung onto new ribs and used as candles.  Nut meats were chewed and spit into the water to clear it, to see the fishes.  Canoes were wood.  Groves were planted, carried by streams.
There is incredible sensory perception in a human being whose perpetual rapport with nature has been unbroken from infancy.  Children in old Hawaii rapidly learned weather wisdom by opening all of their senses to change.  “Listen to he who teaches you to listen to the wind.”  Handy
Ulu – Breadfruit The ulu could be baked or steamed, or pounded like poi.  The light wood of the trunk was used to make surfboards, drums or poi boards (other woods better).  It also had other, varied uses, such as for glue, gum, and medicines.  Drawn on Portlock Road, Hawaikai  The planter and his life furnish us with the key to his culture.  Ancient Hawaiians were gardeners – not farmers.  In contrast to gardening, where an intimate relationship is developed to the plants, soil, and water, farming is once removed from these relationships.  The common people of Hawai’I were peace loving.  Boys were raised to be farmers, not fighters.  When a boy was weaned, he was dedicated to Lono, totally a Nature god of agriculture, abundance and peace.  The basic patterns of culture were determined by the growth and culture of kalo, which in turn was determined by the water of life.
NIU – coconut palm All parts of the niu were used.  The husks were made into cordage, mats, brushes, coarse textiles, etc..  Leaves were plaited to use in screens, fans, hats, thatch, and the like.  The fresh pulp, juice and milk were used as food and flavoring.  Drawn on Huoni Street, Waimanalo
KO – sugarcane The Ancient Hawaiians practiced a highly advanced form of horticulture, marked by a great variety of plants and animals, ingenuity and a wide diversity of methods.  They included elaborate irrigation and the terracing of lowlands and hillsides, dry farming, mulching, green manuring, and the very intelligent production of many varieties of crops by selection of those best suited to a wide range of environmental conditions and valued most for flavor, size and other qualities.  Their powers of observation and classification were of the highest order.  They were truly experimental horticulturists.   NATIVE PLANTERS IN OLD HAWAII, by Handy
From February to May, a kapu (restriction) was placed on inshore fishing, during the spawning season, so as not to deplete their own source of protein  They also took only what they needed during fishing season – never in excess.
At the request of the Campus Center Board, and by their commission (June 9, 1981) I set out to research education in Hawaii and set the theme of this mural to be – ON THE SPIRIT OF GROWTH AND LEARNING in HAWAII – then and now.  This wall represents some time or times in the past – then.  It represents those times when Hawaii lived in the spirit of lokahi, the realization of the harmony and absolute inter-relatedness of God(s), Nature, and human0kind in the Universe. When one looks into the spirit of growth and learning, one is quickly directed to its substance, and that is knowledge.  Then, what was taught, and even more immediate is the introduction to the philosophy and the values which created ancient Hawaii: Reverence, and deep respect for the gods, for their natural environment, and for each other. AKUA          KE AO NEI         KANAKA ALOHA Ke I Ola was the term to describe their genuine appreciation of life and living.   Hau ‘Oli was their spontaneous ability to relax and have fun. Their laws, responsibilities, and penalties were Very clear and direct.   Their family values – in the OHANA, the extended family, respected the old and the young, and was based on cooperation – KOKUA, LAULIMA, sharing, love and togetherness.  ALOHA – love and kindness, patience, courtesy, productivity and trust were expressed and lived to the fullest. ALOHA is the expression of the love given freely, openly, and unconditionally.   This, then, is what was taught, by example from old to young, by word of mouth in a rich, remarkable, oral tradition.  The survival skills and crafts, their intimate knowledge of nature’s ways were mirrors of their philosophy, and their striving for perfection.  They worked with nature, with no attempt to dominate.  All this they taught their children My own spirit of growth and learning is ablaze by and through knowledge (blossoming) of the  PEOPLE   OF  ANCIENT  HAWAII.
A ‘o i ka wā Hawaii kahiko  LEARNING IN ANCIENT HAWAI’I.   I ka nānā no i‘ke  I ka ho’olohe no a ho’omaopopo I ka hana no a ‘ike. BY OBSERVING, ONE LEARNS BY LISTENING, ONE COMMITS TO MEMORY BY PRACTICE, ONE MASTERS THE SKILL From NĀNĀ I KE KUMU – Mary Kawena Pukui
Ahupua’a – A land division usually extending from the uplands to the sea, so named because the boundary was marked by a heap (ahu) of stones surmounted by an image of a pig (pua’a), or because a pig or other tribute was laid on the altera s tax to the chief. A TYPICAL AHUPUA’A ran like a wedge from sea to mountains and included fishing rights, cultivable lands, upland timber and planting zones and areas of valuable bird catching privileges in higher mountains.  The chief of the moku (island) leased the ahupua’a which was the major political subdivision for taxation to the planter.  The sharing between the chief and the tenant was comprehensive and reciprocal.  Topographical and other natural features, such as ridges, outcroppings, and rocks, stream channels or a tree marked the limits of the ahupua’a.  No artificial demarcations of limits of such large land holdings were drawn. In the case of a small patch of cultivated land, boundaries, such as ditches or streams were viewed.  Water, the possession of no one, and its purity were, then, clearly understood, as each planter was immediately impacted by the slightest upstream overuse or abuse in this vertical separation of the land from sea to sky.
po’o lawai’a – a NET FISHERMAN teaching his skills – kahuna ho’oulu i’a FISHERY EXPERT  “…with a select group of professional fishermen…fishing developed as a fine art…The profession carried with it a vast legacy of knowledge.  For the po’o lawai’a, fishing was not a haphazard game of chance, but a science in which the technique used to catch a certain species was derived from an understanding of the habits of that particular animal. . .spoken word and personalized instruction alone were used in the transmission of knowledge. . .”  Hawaiian Reef Animals
Braddah Hewett shared some of these mana’o (thoughts) during Bishop Museum’s Forum Series on Education in Hawaii (‘81-‘82).  The Halau was photographed while performing a series of kahiko (ancient) hulas, dedicated to the volcano goddess, Pele. MAKAHIKI CELEBRATION ’81, Kualoa Point (State Park) Oahu.
Hale – HOUSE Hawaiian homes were simple, beautiful and carefully notched and lashed together before thatching.  Different aspects of life like cooking, sleeping, or having a menstrual period were provided for by separate structures.   Theirs was an ‘out-of-doors’ existence.
Kahawai – place having fresh water Drawn on several days at the diversified farm worked by the Reppun Brothers that 3,500 lo’i once terraced the back of the valley
Ki – ti was a very important plant to the ancient Hawaiians.  Among the many uses of ki’s shiny long leaves are food wrapping for cooking or serving, packaging, garments and shelter.
moa - chicken - The animals brought to Hawai'i were dogs, swine, chickens and rats
Art and Soul for the Earth
 Big Island of Hawai'i