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VHILS, LEIS, and Roosters: The Charm of ONO’U Tahiti 2017: Dispatch 1

Posted on October 2, 2017

This week BSA takes you to the French Polynesian Islands to see the new murals going up for this tropical island cultural festival called ONO’U Tahiti 2017. We’re happy to bring you the daily events and the insights as we discover them.


Closer to Auckland than Oakland and closer to heaven than Marge Simpson’s hair, the islands of French Polynesia are sort of difficult to get to but once you are here, the marina and mountain and the cats and the chickens will charm your lei right off of you.

Vhils. Detail. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Yes, in fact, we did receive a traditional maeva at the airport this morning at 5 am from Sarah Roopina and Jean Ozonder – a hand strung necklace of frangipani and orchids placed around the shoulders. Before you can get wowed at the previous murals from their earlier “ONO’U” festivals like stuff from Inti, Seth Globepainter, Bordalo II and Okuda just sprinkled through downtown Papeete, you are undoubtedly stunned by the power of their flower game.

No joke, with the leis and the blossom behind the ear, the people know how to bring an enchanting portion of poetry to everyday exchanges. Often a gardenia and often fragrant, it is not easy to overlook the wearer and appreciate their simple floral addition.

Vhils. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Turn the corner and at the table of a sidewalk café is the piece de resistance, as they may say here: a warm and smiling woman joking conspiratorially with her lunchmate and smoking a cigarette with a veritable crown of blossoms. This tiare is fragrant and gently cushioned by green these floral crowns, made of blossoms of yellow, white, fushia… that’s probably why the new Vhils piece proudly showcases this crown of blooming tropical nature in full glory. Sorry kids, these folks have the flower situation on lockdown.

Vhils. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile the mother hen and her chicks whom we almost ran over with the mural-catching truck could not have been freer. Jaime jumped out of the truck after we jammed on the brakes and flashed the parking lights so cars behind us didn’t smash into the bumper. Sort of unperturbed by the kerfuffle, the white/beige mama chicken with a red beak flew a couple of feet back into the dirt driveway and the orbish chick fluttered after her.

Findac. Process shot. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And we gotta name check the strutting attitude and fantastic feather patterns on the roosters that are in the streets, on lawns, strolling on the waterside signing at the top of their lungs. We’ve heard more roosters belting out the hits in the last 12 hours here in Tahiti than Mrs. Sinatra heard during a long weekend at Ceasar’s Palace.

Yes, there are Street Artists arriving right now and whom we are yet to meet and some talents are  already scaling walls like FinDAC and Okuda and Felipe Pantone and Astro. Last night the trio called BLAST ART blew 300 peoples mind’s with modern projection mapping piece combining a newly painted chameleon on a wall and a number of Jedi mind tricks to kick off the festival yesterday, but for us today, the flowers and the chickens are the winners of ONO’U.

Findac. Process shot. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Findac. Process shot. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Findac. Process shot. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Findac. Process shot. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Flower market. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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