Kamea Hadar's art makes an (oversized) impact, from 15-story murals to wrapping a Lamborghini in floral art vinyl.
His latest work: A new mural inside Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort featuring the beauty—and journey—represented by Hawaiian keiki (children), tied to the island's culture, past and present.
Through the Past Is the Future
Located in the grand hall of the resort, Kamea's new mural, titled "I KA WA MA MUA, KA WA MA HOPE (Through the past is the future)," is a tribute to past and future, tradition and expansion.
The mural features five children who are descendants of some of Hawaii's favorite artists and writers, like the grand-niece of the legendary musician 'Iz' who created songs like 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World,' the great-granddaughter of poet and "Living Treasure of Hawaii" John Dominis Holt IV, and Kamea's own daughter.
Beautifully crafted details of a sailing voyage—ropes, ahi, lure and line (and a ukulele!)—mark the transition of Hawaii to via "a metaphorical Hokule'a (voyaging canoe) being crewed by our next generation of keiki." And while people view most of Kamea's murals from a distance on exterior buildings, this one provides a unique opportunity for people to see it up close.
"While experiencing the piece from stern to bow (back to front of the canoe), the sky in the background goes from night into day, giving the experience of the passing of time," Kamea says in his artist statement. "It also refers to the nature of voyaging; one has to be able to navigate day and night, rain or shine."
Hapa and Waves
Raised in Hawaii but not born there, Kamea's pieces often celebrate the life and legacy of Hawaiians, too. A 100-foot mural in Honolulu showcases Duke Kahanamoku and Hawaii's Carissa Moore, the world's first Olympic gold medalist in surfing. And his piece titled Hapa (the Hawaiian word for half, or mixed-race heritage) features a two-story portrait of President Barack Obama painted over a transcription of his 2008 speech on racial equality.
Kamea has been painting all his life. Growing up, he got his start in art through classes at Honolulu Art Academy and the University of Hawaii. He went on to apprentice under a French impressionist painter in Paris and studied at Tel Aviv University. While his work is rooted in traditional elements like portraiture, it has evolved to jump off the canvas to large-scale installations.
In 2010, Kamea joined forces with fellow artist and high school friend Jasper Wong to create Pow! Wow!. Originally a gallery show, Pow! Wow! (with the help of some other artist friends) has created 1,000 murals in more than a dozen cities.
Art, with a Story
"I KA WA MA MUA, KA WA MA HOPE" joins other murals in the Outrigger resort family, from Outrigger Waikiki Beach resort exhibit "Golden Dreams" by Eduardo Bolioli celebrating surfing's inaugural Olympics debut to Erin Ibarra's "Sea Goddess Mural" highlighting ocean conservation at Waikiki Malia, to Ethan Estess's "Coming Home" featuring reclaimed ocean waste at Outrigger Reef Waikiki.
This support of the arts, local culture, and the environment will continue and makes an awesome Hawaii stay complete (alongside other cool Hawaiian culture activities!).
As Kamea says, "We as parents and elders do not yet know where our keiki will arrive or even the nature of the canoe they will be sailing, but we do know that like in a wa'a, the next generation is all in this together. We hope that with the lives that have been lived both in generations past as well as our current lives as parents, our keiki will have the tools to carry on our legacies and be positive stewards of our future earth."