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The Maria Lanakila Painting: A Canvas of Resilience and Faith Transformed into Art

small canvas plein air process
small canvas plein air process

The Symbolism and Resilience of the Maria Lanakila Painting

The name "Maria Lanakila" translates to "Our Lady of Victory," a fitting title for a church that has overcome many obstacles. Symbolism is woven into the architecture and art, with representations of faith, hope, and love found throughout the sanctuary. These symbols serve as constant reminders of the church's spiritual mission. This sacred space holds immense significance for me, especially after it miraculously survived the devastating fires on August 8, 2023.

Impact of the 2023 Lahaina Fires

The recent Lahaina fires of 2023 tested the resilience of Maria Lanakila. While other historic structures were lost, the church survived, though not without damage. The community's response was immediate and heartfelt, reflecting a deep connection to this sacred space. The church's survival symbolizes resilience and hope, qualities that have defined its history and are captured in my painting.

The Inspiration: Plein-Air Painting and Spiritual Connection

The Journey Begins

In 2022, I was inspired to capture the essence of Lahaina's historic churches through plein-air painting. Maria Lanakila was the first, just a short walk from my home. The Catholic faith teaches universal love, and that love guided each brushstroke, making this painting a deeply spiritual endeavor.

I embarked on this an artistic journey imbued with spirit, resilience, and the transformative power of oainting at dawn. Maria Lanakila was my muse, and I painted it live, alla prima, as the first rays of the sun began to illuminate the sky.

small canvas plein air process
small canvas plein air process

The Lahaina Fires: A Mark on Our Community and Art

The Lahaina fires have left an indelible mark on our community, affecting not just homes but also our vibrant art scene. Lahaina was the Artistic Heartbeat of Maui. As someone involved with the Lahaina Art Society and various galleries, today burned to the ground, this painting serves as a tribute to our artistic heritage.

The Impact: Loss and Resilience

On that fateful day, as I evacuated my home and studio, the loss of cultural centers like Na 'Aikane o Maui and the majority of businesses on Front Street struck a deep chord in our artistic and community soul. Yet, Maria Lanakila stood tall, a poignant symbol of resilience. The same cannot be said for other spiritual havens like Lāhainā Jodo Mission, Holly Innocents on Front Street, Lahaina United Methodist Church, and The Waiola Church. Their absence or damage not only affects the religious community but also erases part of the rich tapestry that makes Maui so unique. Each stroke of my brush in future paintings will aim to capture what was lost, immortalizing their essence for generations to come.

The Contribution: Giving Back Through Art

My wife and I donated the 8"x10" oil painting. It was our way of giving back to a community that has enriched our lives in countless ways. The larger, more intricate 24"x30" version remains as a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity and faith that will guide us through these trying times. This painting is more than just a visual representation; it's a narrative woven with the threads of Lahaina's resilience, a tribute to the church's historic architecture, and an homage to the indomitable beauty and spirit of Maui. It's a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity that will guide us through these trying times.

Symbols and Meanings

The church's steeple and cross are prominently featured, serving as symbols of hope and unity. They echo the real-life "Miracle in Lahaina," a testament to the power of faith and community.

Established in 1846 by Father Aubert of the Sacred Hearts Fathers, Maria Lanakila was the first Catholic mission on Maui. The original church, constructed of pili grass, was a humble beginning to what would become a vital spiritual center. Despite early challenges, including resistance to Christian teachings, the church found success in nurturing a growing Catholic community.

In 1873, the church underwent a significant transformation with the construction of a stone structure, reflecting a commitment to permanence and stability. The Gothic architectural style, characterized by pointed arches and intricate details, added to the church's aesthetic appeal. Over the years, renovations and improvements have maintained the integrity of the original design while accommodating the needs of a growing congregation.

The Role of Art in Healing and Community

Art has the power to transcend the limitations of language, capturing the complexities of human emotion and experience in a way that words often cannot. Art can be a powerful catalyst for healing. It offers a form of expression for emotions that may be too difficult to articulate, providing both the artist and the viewer a pathway for processing grief, loss, and trauma.In the wake of the Lahaina fires, the role of art in healing and community-building has never been more evident.

This painting of Maria Lanakila serves as a poignant reminder of what once was—a vibrant community rich in culture and spirituality. But it also stands as a beacon of hope, symbolizing what can be again. The church's miraculous survival amidst the devastation is a testament to the resilience and enduring spirit of Lahaina and its people.

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the painting is also a tribute to the heroes and angels among us—the firefighters, volunteers, and community members who have shown immense courage and compassion. Their actions echo the values that this painting aims to convey: resilience, community, and the transformative power of love and unity.

For more on how art contributes to community resilience, you can read The Lahaina Fires: A Local Artist's Perspective on Tragedy and Resilience.

Mahalo for allowing this painting and its story to touch your life. Your engagement is a vital part of Lahaina's journey towards healing and renewal.

The Path Forward: Resilience and Community Initiatives

Despite the tragedy, our art community is resilient. Fundraisers and community initiatives are already underway. Maria Lanakila stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of Lahaina. Through this painting, I hope to share a piece of that spirit with you, capturing not just a moment in time, but the resilience and unity of our community. is a consolidated list of resources in the aftermath of the 2023 Maui fires.

The Giclee on Canvas Program: A Unique Offering for Art Enthusiasts

For those who find a deep connection with the Maria Lanakila painting, I'm thrilled to offer a Giclee on Canvas Program. This program allows you to own a piece of this spiritual and artistic journey. The Giclee prints come in various sizes and editions, each capturing the essence of the original painting:

  • 11"x14" Open Edition, Signed: Priced at $900 with a $100 shipping fee.

  • 16"x20" Limited Edition of 150, Signed and Hand Embellished: Priced at $900 with a $100 shipping fee.

  • 20"x25" Limited Edition of 120, Signed and Hand Embellished: Priced at $1,350 with a $120 shipping fee.

  • 24"x30" Limited Edition of 100, Signed and Hand Embellished: Priced at $1,900 with a $150 shipping fee.

  • 28"x35" Limited Edition of 50, Signed and Hand Embellished: Priced at $2,550 with a $200 shipping fee.

Each print is not just a replica but a continuation of the original artwork, hand-embellished to bring out unique details. It's an opportunity to bring a piece of Lahaina's resilience and spiritual depth into your own space. For more details on how to add this unique piece to your collection, you can visit my Shop page. Use the code LAHAINASTRONG for free shipping. This Giclee on Canvas Program is another way we're committed to sharing the beauty and resilience of Lahaina with you. Mahalo for your continued support and engagement with my art.


Thank you for engaging with this painting and the story it tells. Your prayers and support are the wind beneath Lahaina's wings as we rise from the ashes, stronger than ever.

About the Artist

To learn more about my journey and how I incorporate art into life's most beautiful moments, visit Ariel Quiroz: Painting Love Stories in Paradise with Maui Wedding Art.

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