ONO’U Festival 2016 as Captured by Martha Cooper in Tahiti

Lucky Us! Our senior reporter on the ground in Tahiti for this years’ ONO’U Festival is the quick-witted eagle-eyed Martha Cooper, who shares with BSA readers her fresh shots of the action in paradise.

Personable and outgoing, Cooper covers a lot of ground quickly, introducing herself and asking questions and snapping pictures. Of course people often know her before she knows them, especially in the Street Art/ Graffiti game – but frankly she just wants to see artists work and learn about their process.  So get working!

We’re thankful that Martha is taking the time to share with us all her images and some details of the surrounding action, which we elaborate on here for you.

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Phat1 AKA Charles at work on his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“Charles is painting an Omamao bird endemic of Tahiti,” says Martha, “and it is listed as a critically endangered species.” Why do you hear this same story in whatever part of the world you are in today? More importantly, are you doing anything about it?

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Phat1 AKA Charles at work on his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Phat1 AKA Charles with help from Lady Diva AKA Jeanine Williams. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

After the mural was finished, Martha says there was a blessing of the mural. Above you can see the minister in the photo above performing the blessing.

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Bordalo’s sketch for his installation. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bordalo shows us the original sketch for his new piece made with recycled trash.

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Bordalo II at work. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Bordalo II. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Bordalo II. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Adnate at work on his mural. Martha tells us that his muse for the mural was a woman whom both he and Martha had photographed in the market.  ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Adnate. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Adnate & Askew. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Seth at work on his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Returning mural champion Seth made good use of “an odd shaped wall, turning it into the Rainbow Warrior, a Greenpeace ship which led a flotilla of yachts protesting again French nuclear testing in French Polynesia,” Martha tells us. According to Wikipedia, “Fernando Pereira was a freelance Dutch photographer, of Portuguese origin, who drowned when French intelligence detonated a bomb and sank the Rainbow Warrior, owned by the environmental organization Greenpeace on 10 July 1985.”

Martha notes that Pereira also was a photographer and he was trying to save his equipment at the time that the ship went down.  “The mural shows Polynesian girl in her fragile canoe pulling alongside the ship.”

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Seth at work on his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Seth. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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NIKO at work on his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“This guy says he can paint any animal he’s seen out of his head—very impressive!” says Ms. Cooper about NIKO, whose mural shows animals arriving in Tahiti from around the world from the harbor close to where the wall was. “The USA is represented by an alligator with a Miami Dolphins hat on,” she says.

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Okuda taking a break. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Okuda at work on his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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MAST at work on his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Mast sketch for his mural. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

MAST was channeling Brooklyn hard in Tahiti, with this shout out to the honeys back home, the subway at Franklin Avenue, and he reconfigured the train lines to reflect the letters of his crew – The Great Escape (TGE).

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Mast. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Cranio. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Leon Keer. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The anomorphic master Leon Keer is pictured here with his wife assisting. Martha says that these figures are “Painting of robots arriving from the harbor.” As usual, Mr. Keers work rather blows your mind when it is completed and you are standing in just the right location.

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Leon Keer. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Leon Keer. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Inkie at work on his wall. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Kalouf at work on his wall. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Kalouf left with Marko on the right. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Peeta. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Hoxxoh. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Jobs & Abuzz. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“Tribal Pursuit” is the name of this wall by Tahitians Jobs and Abuzz, named so after the board game called Trivial Pursuit. “The black lines are the Maquesa’s cross,” Martha says, and “the designs are the contradictions of old and modern traditions from Polynesia such as  the ‘head breaker’ a traditional weapon and tiki, the sea animal because they are surrounded by water.” The skull, of course, “represents the atomic tests.”

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Charles and Askew partake on  traditional dance with a local troupe of female dancers. ONO’U Festival 2016. Tahiti. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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