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Bending Perceptions at ONO’U: ASTRO, OKUDA & Graffiti Couture: ONO’U TAHITI 2017: DISPATCH 3 : Brooklyn Street Art

Posted on October 4, 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.


After some logistical challenges with the cherry picker, Astro has wasted no time converting the side of a building into a perception-bending illusion for downtown Papeete here in Tahiti.

But then, illusions and perception are all we have, right? And it is many artists pastime to play with both.

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

This new ONO’U Festival mural is next to a huge gas station and across the street from a gun store selling high-powered firearms and here we have a French graffiti writer hailing form two crews (ODV and CBA) commanding a wall.

Additionally the dude is crafting a uniquely personal career with his optic artworks on buildings, roofs, pavement, t-shirts, screenprints, and canvasses.

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

Likewise Okuda is playing with traditional figurative forms and natural symbols and that recalls abstract geometry of the Art Deco filtered through surreal wire-framing models. The cheerful palette is right at home here in tropical islands, the somewhat domestic scenes popping up in your dreams, symbols of something, but you’re not sure what.

Aside from that, there is a daily slow unveiling of the piece, with it’s bricked faced mom from the 1940s and chirping birds near her head. We watched as it halted at least one small boy who walking by and holding his mothers’ hand. He surveyed the work in progress and begin and pointing and questioning and explaining … and refusing to leave the parking lot.

ONO’U director Sarah Roopinia with ASTRO and crew sorting the lift. Process shot. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Tropical birds are showing up in FinDAC’s piece as well, a balancing act of some manner that we need to ask him about. Felippe Pantone is making progress on his mammoth piece as well and a general fragrance of aerosol spray permeates the activities within the museum in preparation for the block party on Friday night.

Although that aerosol fragrance was also flooding the bank lobby last night during the chic and street flavored fashion show extravaganza conceived of by ONO’U festival visionary Sarah Roopinia, who paired graffiti writer/Street Artists with fashion designers and models and presented some grand visions to this tony crowd of Tahitians.

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

With Soten and Marko93 actively spraying tags on models dresses before the crowd in the multi-story foyer during the cocktail/ hor d’oeuvre/ orchid soaked reception, one wondered if it was the tropically fresh minty drinks or the freshly sprayed paint fumes that were getting us high.

Add to this a thumping soundtrack, psychedelic motion graphics, and high-heeled gently-swerving models careening down the runway and you begin to wonder where you are exactly.

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

Amidst the flashing lights and live TV coverage, the crowd was drinking in the sight of spray painted couture-meets-street-culture-meets-traditional Polynesian fashion, something many hadn’t seen before. The climax was seeing the artists on the arms of models for the final curtain call; a final head-spinning communal experience of perception-bending illusions on parade.

See images from the fashion show below, followed by a video of highlights by Jaime Rojo.

The ONO’U Fashion Show featuring a model wearing a garment painted by Phat1, 3 dancers, and a TV camera man. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

The ONO’U Fashion Show featuring a model wearing a garment painted by Inkie. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

The ONO’U Fashion Show finale with models and artists including Astro, Phat1, Abuz, Marko93, Lady Diva, Rival, and Inkie. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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

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

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

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

Mrs Martine CHENESON at the Fashion Show. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


 Credits for the ONO’U Fashion Show 2017:
Concept and design by Sarah Roopinia, Dressmaker: Myrna from Kahaia Couture, Accessories: Turere & Rio from O’TAHI Creations & Tevei from TEVEI PERLE, Choreographed by Sarah Roopinia and Hiro from HANATIKA, Decoration by Hiro, MUA by Teura Allain and Jad’Art, Hair by Mr. Johns & Hiti from UNIK HAIR

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