100 local, international artists paint murals in Kaka'ako

Pow Wow Hawaii working on weeklong beautification project

Published  5:40 PM HST Feb 14, 2013
HONOLULU -

With many cans of spray paint, graffiti artists turn former Kaka'ako eyesores and dilapidated walls into these elaborate pieces of art.

"I'm usually at a loss for words.  It's just so beautiful," said Kamea Hadar from Pow Wow Hawaii.  "To me, it's a simple way to beautify a building."

These artists are part of Pow Wow Hawaii, a non-profit group with the mission to spread the love of art across the islands.

With landowners' permission, 100 painters from around the world and Hawaii will paint 35 different murals throughout Kaka'ako this week.

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"We give our artists creative control and artistic freedom," said Hadar.  "We do it because we love it!  All the people organizing the event are artists themselves and they are really passionate about building a community and building a community and building friendships all over the world.

A mural can take several days to create and can cost up to tens of thousands of dollars, but these artists do it all for free.

"We are nuts.  We paint.  That's what we do," said local artist Estria Miyashiro.

Miyashiro help paint a majestic mural next to Fresh Cafe on Queen Street.  He says coming up with the idea for the piece wasn't easy.

"We meditate and seek guidance before we paint and it's very much about telling the stories of people and place," said Miyashiro.  "The story we are getting is of Keamelemele, the goddess of Oahu."

These artists spend relentless hours on scaffolding to bring their story and paint this neighborhood back to life.

Hadar says these murals deter vandalism and "tagging."  He says since they've started the project three years ago, very few of the murals they painted have been vandalized.

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