Blog: A taste of what you may find on Maui

Maui’s latest Mermaid Statue

Years ago I met Maui artist Dale Zarrella on the bluff above Charlie Young beach. At the time he had an open-air oceanfront ‘wood carving studio with a view‘, carving a mermaid statue, creating intricate marine life out of wood. Dale is a super-friendly guy, always happy to talk story about his artwork. One time he gave a friend and me a tour of his indoor studio/showroom. As an aside, he currently has a studio at the Maui Tropical Plantation ~ and yes, you can book a tour!

It’s been a while since he worked on that platform, and I’ve missed seeing his progress. Then yesterday I came across an announcement that he was unveiling a mermaid statue at the Fairmont Kea Lani ~ a mermaid statue he’s been working on for 11 years. I just had to go and see her!

Sure enough, it’s the same mermaid sculpture from all those years ago. I took a photo of her in 2015, now she sits in the Fairmont Kea Lani lobby for all to admire and enjoy.

After admiring the sculpture, a friend asked if I’d seen the puffer fish. What? I had to go back for one more look. Also, do you see the eel’s teeth? Truly amazing details.

Do you see the puffer fish? What else can you see?

A little background

This sculpture came from a large tree that used to grow near the Pu’unene Sugar Mill. The tree caught fire and Dale reclaimed the wood. The mermaid sculpture is the bottom section of the tree stump. The next portion up became his Saint Marianne Cope sculpture (Molokai in the leper colony). Dale is currently working on the top section of the trunk, a piece he has set upside down and is carving into a ‘mermaid and man’ sculpture, which I saw him working on at his workstation in 2018. He hopes to have it done in a year. I can’t wait to see.

mermaid and man sculpture in progress in 2018