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BSA Images Of The Week: 06.10.18  X ONO’U Tahiti Festival Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.10.18 X ONO’U Tahiti Festival Special

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Hello from French Polynesia! All week we have been hopping around the islands from Papeete to Raiatea and now in Bora Bora. Celebrating its 5th anniversary/birthday last night at the huge community street party with founders Sarah Roopina and Jean Ozonder and with this years ONO’U festival artists slamming walls like crazy here  – you can see that hard work pays off sometimes.

Grassroots, not overly commercial, inclusive, responsive to the neighbors, high quality artworks – its a solid, even golden mix. Also Sarah’s parents are always happy to pitch in, whether it is pushing a broom or making lunch for everyone at home in their kitchen and bringing it to the work site to make sure that everyone eats. It is touches of warmth like this which reminds you that in many ways this scene that started in the street is as much about community as it is self expression.

For BSA readers who are just catching up with ONO’U we thought we’d use Images of the Week as an ONO’U Greatest Hits collection today. Most of these have never before published on BSA from the four previous editions. We took winding streets, back alleys, roundabouts, promenades, rooftops, abandoned lots and just about any place we could enter alongside Martha Cooper and had a blast for three days finding these walls again. Enjoy and Māuruuru roa!

DalEast. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Seth . HJT. ONO’U Tahiti 2015. Papeete. In 2016 this particular wall was chosen by the French Polynesia Postal Service as a stamp. We wrote about it HERE. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Suiko. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. Roosters, hens and chicks run wild on the streets of many towns in French Polynesia. We haven’t figured out who feeds them, or how they survive, but they seem to roam free of owners and masters. One can hear the roosters making their distinctive call (here is what they sound like) every morning – sometimes before you are fully aware that the new day has begun. It is also not unusual to see a mother hen with her chicks crossing the roads at their leisure, sometimes stopping traffic. We of course stop for them. Always. Lore has it that there are big mean centipedes in the archipelagos and that the chickens eat them. See they earn their keep balancing the natural population of insects, besides being very effective alarms clocks. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Leon Keer’s anamorphic Street Art, literally on the street, creates a mind-bending illusion with perspective. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DalEast. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mast’s tribute to the NYC Subway creates a new faux subway stop that is roughly 6,300 miles (10,103 km) from New York. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

INTI. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MadC. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

FinDac. ONO’U Tahiti 2017 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KOBRA. ONO’U Tahiti 2017 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

PEETA. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Marko93. ONO’U Tahiti 2017 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Besok. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Charles & Janine Williams. The Ōma’o is a bird from the island of Hawaii is placed at the highest risk of extinction thus the “Critically Endangerd” or CR designation.  ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Abuz . HTJ . JUPS. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Askew . Sofles. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Inspired by the Polynesian legend of “The Coconut Tree” the mural has to do with an eel’s head, a forgetful young girl and the birth of the coconut tree:  

“The coconut tree is one of the most common trees in The Islands Of Tahiti. The Polynesians always tell a legend about its creation… The coconut tree legend…

A long time ago, a young girl called Hina was of real beauty due to her sun kissed skin and silky hair. She was meant to marry the prince of eels. Frightened by the physique of her suitor, who had a gigantic body and an enormous head, Hina ran away and took refuge in the house of the fishing God – Hiro.

The latter was dazzled by the beauty of Hina and touched by her history, so he took one of the young woman’s hairs and with it fished the approaching eel. Hiro cut up the prince of eels and wrapped his head in leaves. Before dying, the eel said to Hina: “of all the Men who hate me, including you Hina, you will one day kiss me to thank me. I will die, but my prediction is eternal.”.

Hiro entrusted the head of the eel to Hina and then advised her:

Hina, girl of beauty, you can return to your family and there, you will destroy this head. But throughout your journey do not put it on the ground because then the curse of the eel will come true.’

On her way back, the beautiful young woman and her followers who accompanied her, became tired and decided to take a bath in the river, forgetting the warning of the God Hiro. The eel’s head which had been put on the ground penetrated the earth, and from it a large tree was born, with a long trunk just like an immense eel, and with foliage similar to hair; the coconut tree had just been born.

Hina was then condemned by the Gods to remain close to this river because the tree had become taboo… Life went on until the day when a terrible dryness struck the lands and during which only the coconut resisted the sun. Thus, in spite of the God’s prohibition to touch this tree, men picked its fruit full of clear and nutritive water. Each fruit was marked with 3 dark spots laid out like two eyes and a mouth on which the men put their lips in order to drink the coconut water…. Hina did the same thing ….. And the prophecy of the prince of eels had just come true.”

Askew . Sofles. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faith XLVII. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dabs & Myla . Kems. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dabs & Myla . Pose. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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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