Honolulu is famous for golden sand beaches and big waves. But the city’s warehouse district, called Kakaako, is famous for a different sort of attraction – a thriving urban arts scene, with colourful street murals.
Kakaako sits between Honolulu’s downtown and the touristy Waikiki. In ancient times, the area was home to a native Hawaiian fishing village. In the 20th century, the area filled with warehouses and car dealerships. It wasn’t until 2011 that Honolulu artist Jasper Wong sought to revitalise the area with urban art. Wong created a group called POW!WOW! Hawaii with the goal of bringing people together through art.
One of the more powerful murals covers the sides of a building near a popular gym. The faces of Hawaiian royalty – King David Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani – appear on the wall in a swirling mist of fantasy and history. It was created by native Hawaiian artists Solomon Enos and John “Prime” Hina along with mainland artist Gaia.
The murals are replaced with new art every February. But with much of Kakaako due for redevelopment, the old warehouses and buildings that serve as canvases will be demolished. POW!WOW! is now working with landowners on how to keep the art alive. AP