May 2015 brought us Ono’u Tahiti Festival. The second edition of the international graffiti festival brought together more than forty international artists and graffiti artists, including some of the biggest names in the current urban contemporary art.
The name “ONO’U” is a neologism inspired by Tahitian two words: “ONO”(action to connect two things) and “U”(colours). The name of this festival could therefore translate “colour match” in Tahiti through graffiti art.
Buildings in Tahiti have been given another fresh lick of paint and heading this years festival was French street artist Seth. Seth drew inspiration from the local culture and painted this beautiful portrait of a young Tahitian pareo, wearing, and sleeping on, a striking printed fabric, designed by HTC, with white hibiscus flowers on a red background. However, if you look a little closer you can see some symbols in the middle are different to the usual traditional symbols of Polynesian art, such as radioactivity on the side of the young woman and a radioactive mushroom cloud just above her knee. These subtle differences are in reference to the many years of disputed nuclear testing in Mururoa Atoll.
Brazilian street artist, Kobras beautiful mural was of two Polynesian girls in Papeete. In his signature style Kobra utilises bright colours and bold lines while staying true to a kaleidoscope theme throughout. Kobra worked through the tropical rain storms and sun shine to paint his own kaleidoscope rainbow in Tahiti.
Belguim street artist Roa focuses again on his giant murals with technical precision. This time staying native to Tahiti Roa paints a gigantic Tahitian land crab. Lets hope they don’t get bigger than this!
DALeast Mural is of a striking bird of prey in his signature three-dimensional metallic weaving. The bird is bringing energy into Tahiti with a thunder bolt, which was in keeping with the weather of this stormy festival. However, looking at this falcon would brighten up anyones day.
Sofles and Askew hit some walls over the five-day festival. They worked on a wall each and then collaborated for ‘Te a’ai o Hina’.
They chose to interpret the legend of Hina & the origin of the coconut in Tahiti. They were influenced by one of Tahiti’s beloved singers & painters Bobby Halcomb. Bobbys hallmarks were taking a frame within a frame and the exaggerated feminine form.
Street artist Aero paints a huge chameleon chilling out on the beautiful island!
Sofen from Denmark joined the Ono’u festival on beautiful Tahiti for the second time to paint this wall with All Chrome and was part of the jury at the graffiti battle (read part 2).
Married couple Dabs and Myla worked with artist Pose in their signature fun styles. The mural is much more than a collaboration of art—it’s a collaboration of lives, full of love and play and the genesis of fantastic things.
This was just the beginning of the Ono’u Festival! Check out part 2 of our blog which covers the graffiti battle of Ono’u! A worthy competition showcasing some of the worlds best graff writers, set in the beautiful setting of Tahiti and topped with a first prize $10,000 cherry….. this competition was sweet as!
Photos courtesy of Marc Emmanuel Louvat.