Good art, same as a good relationship, is long-lasting. It lasts many years, even in today’s throwaway society. Trends change, fashion changes but a real quality defends itself and finds its way to stay forever. Street art, on the other hand, more than any other form of expression is fragile and sensitive to public opinion. By nature it is a non-permanent art form. So if a life expectancy of street art painting is so unsure and unpredictable does it still qualify as a good art?
Street art paintings can be compared to a Hyundai slogan *The drive might be short, but the inspiration travels far*. This is exactly how it is – the mural can be there for a week or so, but the beauty of it or the message it conveys, will stay in the memory of the viewer forever. I have a special sentiment and admiration for street art artists. They make so much effort for something so vulnerable. It’s a rare quality nowadays. I guess that ephemerality of street art makes is even more appealing and captures the imagination of mine and many others.
My journey through the islands of French Polynesia started in Tahiti. Right after arrival I had a quick glimpse around Papeete – the capital city. I started the walk at Paul Gauguin street and quickly noticed a striking amount of street art paintings all over the city. I was truly amazed as I haven’t come across this form of art anywhere around Pacific. I did an investigation and learnt that I was witnessing the remains of the first international graffiti festival hosted in Tahiti (2014). The name of the event was ONO’U (fusion of two Tahitian words ‘ONO’ – the act of joining one thing to another – and ‘U’ -colours). As it states in their website: the festival primarily aims to become a major international rendez-vous for urban contemporary art located in the heart of the South Pacific Ocean. The event was successful and this year they aim to repeat the experience. I wish I was there to celebrate with them.
While walking around I fell in love with the paintings immediately as they were very feminine, colourful and had a delightful, local touch. Every corner came with a story. It might have been a beautiful Polynesian girl or an angry warrior. Many artists focused on the beauty of local women – painting them in the most sensual and attractive way. I just couldn’t take my eyes of them. Their beauty stayed in my memory longest. To explore all the colours ands faces of ONO’U the best idea is to rent a moped or a car and drive around. I decided to take a walk and it also worked out well but I did many, many kilometres and really felt it at the end of the day. I really recommend visiting Tahiti during graffiti festival as it’s truly world-class event which celebrates art, femininity and culture exploration in a best possible way.
One month after the week of festival there are still many murals present around the capital:
The images below I found just online:
Sadly, this year I won’ make it back to Tahiti. If you are there, please share your thoughts, photos, ideas. You will make me and many others very, very happy. Contact me here or via firstname.lastname@example.org xxx