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Festival Mural

Pow! Wow! Goes Back to Hawaii’s Heavenly Streets

1 March 2018

As previously discussed here, Pow! Wow! is a street art festival promising, on every edition, a few days of musical and artistic festivities to bring together creatives, educate youths on art and embellish communities.

Last February 10th to 18th, another creative edition of this popular festival took place. After colouring the streets of Seoul, San Jose, Tapei and more, Pow! Wow!’s team went back where it all started: in the streets of Hawaii, in Kaka’ako‘s district.

Despite a little rain, the festival delivered another varied and festive programming. Starting with a block party on February 10th, in parallel with Honolulu Night Market, an exhibition organised by Thinkspace, the festivities went on with artist talks, art fairs, pop-up boutiques, breakdancing battles with UDEF, soccer-golf tournaments with Kicks to the Pitch and Paradise Soccer Club, a concert by BAMP and more.

As usual, Pow! Wow!’s team also grouped a hundred local and international artists, including some big names (such as Dulk, Faile, Daniel Arsham and more) in Honolulu’s heavenly locale to embellish the backdrop with more impressive murals and artistic installations. Here are our team’s favorites.

Photo Credit : Pete Ulatan

Artwork by Ricky Watts (California) and James Bullough (Germany).

James Bullough’s photorealistic style and Ricky Watt’s colourful and dynamic signature united for the occasion, resulting in an impressive artwork that leaves us speechless.

Photo Credit : Pete Ulatan

Artwork by Sandra Chevrier (Canada).

Wandering between reality and fantasy, Sandra Chevrier distinguishes herself once again with a piece in part of her popular “Caged Superheroes” series. After travelling the world with this series, Hawaii was added to the collection with one of her comic book-masked heroines– symbolic of social imprisonment of women hiding their true nature.

Photo Credit : Lanny Nguyen

Artwork by Sydney James (Michigan).

This time, Sydney’s portraits, characterized by deep hues and complex layers, are translated in this impressive mural underlining society’s prejudice of black women and what they wear. Her personal account of her vision is shared on her Instagramt:

“ ‘Codeswitchonya’ is a repurposed play on OutKast’s “Stankonia” album cover. While this piece directly pays homage to my favorite hip hop group of all time, it speaks on a much larger issue. The subject in this piece is one woman painted wearing different garments with very different hair. It’s highlighting the fact that most people “code switch” but black women in this society and beyond have to do it the most. We are constantly in the act of making those around us “comfortable.” Be it our looks, hair, tone of voice, subtle actions or aggressive actions, we are seldom accepted as our true selves.”

Photo Credit : Pete Ulatan

Artwork by Anna T-Iron (Germany).

Known for her bright and playful artworks of retro, yet futuristic looks in tropical atmospheres, the German-born artist produced for the occasion a Daisy Duck mural, characteristically full of life.

Photo Credit : Pete Ulatan

“Travelers”

Artwork by Lauren YS (California).

Lauren YS’ work always brings a little more vibrancy and wonder to every city where she leaves her mark. With artworks featuring imaginary heroines in absurd and fantastic worlds, the Californian artist signs this artwork “Travelers”. The mysterious story behind these travelers is up to you!

Artwork by Daniel Arsham (New York).

Daniel Arsham’s work often uses elements of architecture, sculpture and performance to create pieces that plays with our perception of structures and space. This mural created as part of the festival is no exception! Looking like it might come out of the wall, his mural leaves us reflecting on our own perception of time.

Artwork by Dulk (Spain).

Showcasing a hybrid between the iconic bird from Hawaii, ‘i’iwi, and it’s favorite flower, the Lehua, Dulk’s mural is meant as a gift to Hawaii and its inhabitants. He explains on his Instagram post:

“This mural acts as my present for Hawai’i and their habitants, a fusion between an endemic and endangered bird, the ‘i’iwi and his favourite endemic flower, the Lehua. As the legend says, the ʻiʻiwi had a special place in Hawaiian culture. It is believed that feathers from over 30,000 of these birds were used to make 1 cape for the chief. They caught the birds by hiding in bushes and holding a favourite flower of the I’iwi, and when the bird inserted its bill, they pinched and captured it.


The ʻiʻiwi is a highly recognizable symbol of Hawaiʻ, it’s one of the most common native birds throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, but this stunning honeycreeper has disappeared from most of its former range.”

“The Fence Between Us”

Artwork by Icy and Sot (Iran).

Artistic installations depicting social, ecological, economic and political issues are these two Iranian brothers’ trademark. Better known for their stencil murals, their art has extended to fence materials as a medium, adding a little more symbolism to the artworks.

Photo Credit : Pete Ulatan

Artwork by Jonny Alexander (California).

Growing up close to California’s deserts, mountains and coastlines, Jonny Alexander highlights the variations nature can take, somewhere between existentialism and surrealism. For the festival, the Californian artist chose Hawaii’s most typical fruit, the pineapple, as the star of his mural.

Photo Credit : Pete Ulatan

Artwork by Tran Nguyen (Vietnam).

Tran Nguyen’s artworks distinguish themselves by their softness that often depict everyday life struggles. This mural, made as part of the festival, adds a lovely touch of femininity to the urban decors of this Hawaiian neighbourhood.

Photo Credit : Pete Ulatan

Artwork by Wooden Wave (Hawaii) and Gavin Murai (Hawaii).

Last, but not least, this playful artwork filled with nostalgia, born of a collaboration between couple Wooden Wave and artist Gavin Murai, all three from Hawaii, takes us back to Hawaii’s retro years and leaves us wanting to go on an adventure on its tropical roads.

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