Imua – A Piece of Political History

Imua – A Piece of Political History
August 28, 2014 Aisha Buntin
Imua by Jean Charlot
Imua, Splintered Paddle by Jean Charlot

Imua, Splintered Paddle by Jean Charlot



Photo courtesy of Ian Lind,

A photograph in the Honolulu Advertiser July 8, 1971 shows Jean Charlot presenting the original poster-size drawing to Curtis Kekoa of the Ad Hoc Committee for an Hawaiian Trustee for the Bishop Estate. According to the accompanying article it was for the Committee’s posters and letterheads.

The poster was reproduced as a blueprint showing the drawing in white lines on a blue-black ground.

On July 17, the Committee organized a march from Magic Island through Waikiki to Kapiolani Park. Marchers carried signs and many “purple-and-white posters displayed the Splintered Paddle ‘Imua’ symbol… designed by muralist Jean Charlot.”


It was the first Native Hawaiian protest to draw in all parts of the Hawaiian community, and marked the start of the era of modern Hawaiian political activism. Photo copyright Ian Lind,


Hawaiian language

to move forward with strength, meaning, purpose, or momentum.  

to continue moving forward, to continue going forward beyond obstacles

Many thanks to Bronwen Solyom, curator of the Jean Charlot Collection at the University of Hawaii for providing this detailed information about this print.  Thanks also to Ian Lind who gave us permission to display photos from his archives.