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ONO’U: The meeting of Colors on Tahiti

  • ONO'U
April 21, 2014
Asja Nastasijevic is an Art Historian with the major in Modern Art, involved in art writing and criticism for several years now. Art is her passion and writing about it is both work and pleasure.

For the first time ever this May, an international graffiti festival ONO’U will be hosted in Tahiti. Impressive frescoes will be created by over forty international guest street artists and local writers. The festival primarily aims to become a major international meeting place for urban contemporary art.  This May 5 – 11, over 1500 square meters of walls will be installed and painted on the iconic site of Place Toata, facing the harbor of Papeete and magical island of Moorea.


The name of the festival, “ONO’U”, is inspired by the fusion of two Tahitian words “ONO” (the act of joining one thing to another) and “U” (colors) to express the act of joining a color to another and, by extension,

to symbolize “the meeting of colors” in Tahiti through the art of graffiti.

The Battle

The visitors can expect a series of live performances, graffiti live painting, body painting, exhibitions, graffiti workshops, and a $10,000 prize spray contest. Central event of the festival, the ONO’U Battle is a worldwide graffiti contest opened to any spray can artist aged between 18 and 38 years old practicing graffiti. The Battle will bring together 24 talented contestants from all around the world to demonstrate their skills and paint huge canvasses based on island-focused themes. Out of the 24 contestants, 5 places to compete the final will be kept for 5 Polynesian writers. Competition will be held on May 10 and 11. First prize winner will get $10,000 award, while the second prize is 5000 USD and third 2500 USD. Among the artists attending the event but not competing are Askew, Alex, Besok, INTI, Hopare, Dabs Myla, to name but a few.

Street art festival Tahiti
Hopare in Paris for ONO’U

Open Air Gallery

On the fringe of the festival, the organizing committee will launch, in collaboration with City Hall of Papeete, the Pacific Ocean Gallery project in Tahiti. It aims to create over the years an open air Gallery and Art Walk in the city center of Papeete, consisting of paintings and murals realized by artists from all over the world and invited local artists.

Street art festival Tahiti
Dabs Myla for ONO’U

Tahitian Way of Life

Paintings will focus on themes related to the history, traditions and way of life of Tahiti. It will also be the first ever opportunity in the history of Tahiti for international artists to leave a long-lasting wall painting footprint of their passing through the island and share it with the local population and for local writers to express their Polynesian identity.

BESOK Zen and the Art

Tahiti New Generation

The ONO’U festival is created and supported by a young Polynesian company, Tahiti New Generation, specialized in the creation and production of international artistic and cultural events. Entrance to the festival will offer participants a unique opportunity to enjoy amazing graffiti live paintings by some of today’s major international graffiti writers and Tahitian artists. If Gauguin were alive today, he would surely have been among this group of creative people helping to pave the way for urban contemporary art in beautiful French Polynesia.

Festival Flyer