“Leiolani” Comes to Life on a Massive Wall at Pālama Settlement

JT Ojerio of Aloha de Mele painted one of the 70 murals at the Hawai‘i Walls festival in Kalihi.
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Photo: Aaron Yoshino

JT Ojerio of Aloha de Mele uses vivid colors to paint a mural of a friend on a 15−by−30−foot wall at Pālama Settlement. “Leiolani” was one of 70 murals created during May as part of the Hawai‘i Walls festival in Kalihi.

Her Aloha de Mele art is created digitally or with pencil, so this was her first painted project. Ojerio says she spent a lot of time matching colors and “winging it.”

She began her mural by outlining a projected image of Leiolani on the wall and then filling in the lines with about four gallons of paint. Her mural neighbors gave her tips and encouraged her to add a bright color in the background.

Ojerio says the colors remind her of Pālama Settlement’s impactful programs and she hopes the kids there feel inspired when they see it.

“I just want them to see a face that looks like theirs,” she says. “I think representation is super, super important.”



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