The paintings are part of an effort to both discourage graffiti and evoke Maunalua’s historical significance as a thriving fish habitat.

Before its shopping centers and tens of thousands of residents – along with the ecological impacts those developments wrought – the Maunalua area in East Honolulu teemed with fish in ponds that have largely disappeared.

Now, local documentary filmmaker Ann Marie Kirk has launched a project aimed at painting murals that trace the journey that vast numbers of mullet fish would undertake as they swam east from Pearl Harbor before their population declined. 

The project dubbed Na Anae Holo — which roughly translates to “the traveling mullet” — will include murals painted along Kalanianaole Highway starting at Aina Koa and going into Maunalua.

Tattooed man paints a blue and green wall
Along Kalanianaole Highway, artist Ran Noveck puts finishing touches on the mural he created to tell the story of the traveling mullet. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Kirk, who runs, a website dedicated to Maunalua history, has enlisted the help of local mural artist Ran Noveck.

Noveck’s Instagram account shows his work decorating public spaces like the walls of Princess Ruth Keelikolani Middle School and inside the indie bookstore Skull-Face Books & Vinyl.

The project is asking people who own the walls along the highway to agree to have murals painted on them at no cost. Noveck also will monitor the murals and repair them as needed, according to a press release.

In an email, Kirk emphasized that she expects these murals will discourage graffiti along the highway wall — an extra incentive, she hopes, for neighboring homeowners to welcome the artwork.

The project is expected to be completed sometime between August and October. 

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