SMALL TOWN * BIG ART was excited to be involved in the creative process of naming the service and its stops, posed with ideas that included, “how can we exhibit our shared desire to cultivate community relationships with this significant town?” “how do we demonstrate sense-of-place for this particular shuttle service?” “is there opportunity here to share our collective passion for the uniqueness of Wailuku with visitors?”
A concept began to unfold that highlighted the many, many groups and individuals that have come forward to contribute their mana’o for SMALL TOWN * BIG ART projects; each of which developed the cumulative experience that it has become today: a celebration of place that inspires momentous creation.
In tandem with Wailuku LIVE, we arrived at the emblem of a bee, which pollinates flowers in a reciprocal relationship - just as those coming to visit Wailuku Town (residents and visitors alike) both add to its story while becoming energized by its experience. But this couldn’t just be “the bee” it had to be “da bee”! And shuttle stops, naturally, became native flowers - each lending themselves to interpretation for their various uses, nomenclature and cultural significance. In this way, stories are bound to become unearthed as shuttle riders feasibly talk-story about the shuttle stop at which they depart or arrive. Best case scenario: creatives can capture these stories and interpret them for sight, sound and stage within an upcoming SMALL TOWN * BIG ART project. Following are some snippets about each Native Hawaiian flower that da bee stops are named for:
NAU: Nau (Gardenia brighamii) once thrived on all the main Hawaiian isles. Now it is on the endangered species list with only 12 plants on Lanai and one tree in the wild on Oahu. The wood from nau was one of several native species used to make the kua kuku (anvils) to beat kapa, according to the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai. Its flowers were used for lei and the orange-yellow fruit pulp for dye. (Read more HERE)
OHIA LEHUA: Once there was an attractive man named Ohia, and Pele liked him. But Ohia had eyes for another woman: Lehua. Unfortunately for Pele, Lehua liked Ohia in return. Understanding that she could not have Ohia, furious Pele transformed him into into a gnarly, twisted tree. Lehua begged for the spell to be reversed, but Pele was spiteful and refused. Desperate, Lehua then beseeched the other Gods to intervene. In a sort of compromise, they decided the lovers should be forever united and so transformed Lehua into an adornment on the Ohia tree, the lehua blossom. (Read more HERE)
ILIMA: ‘Ilima has been and remains a very important plant in Hawaiian culture, and is described with many different names depending on the characteristics of the plant and where on the island it may be growing. ‘Ilima is said to be one of the few non-food species to be cultivated by early Hawaiians, and although it wasn’t eaten, ‘ilima was used in many different facets of everyday life. The flowers can be used in lei or as a medicine. The stems and branches were used in housing construction as slats, as floor coverings and even used in a variety of cooking methods. (Read more HERE)
MAO: The native Hawaiian cotton, or maʻo, helped to save the cotton industry in modern times. When maʻo is crossed with other cotton strains, the resulting commercial hybrids are less attractive to insect pests that destroy cotton crops. (Read more HERE)
To learn more about da bee, please visit https://www.wailukulive.com/dabee