Kamea Hadar grew up in the worlds of his Japanese/Korean mother and Israeli father. He began studying drawing and painting from a young age. As a child he took classes at the Honolulu Art Academy and University of Hawaii; and spent periods living, studying and creating at the University of San Diego, Sorbonne in Paris, University of St. Louis in Madrid and the University of Tel Aviv, Israel.
Although Kamea’s work is based in traditional portraiture it has evolved off of the canvas to large scale murals and installations that can be found in cities around the world. He labels his work as “Hybridism”, a hybridization of traditional and modern culture.
“I am of mixed ancestry, what some people in Hawaii would call a poi dog. This local slang may seem synonymous with words like ‘mutt’, but instead I like more positive words like ‘hybrid’. I am not Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian ancestry), but I was lucky enough to grow up in a post-Hawaiian Renaissance age. The work of those in the late 1960’s and 1970’s changed the landscape in Hawaii and traditional cultures were no longer embarrassing, but something to be proud of.
My art grew in an environment where these values were so pervasive that regardless of your ethnicity they had an unavoidable effect on one’s life and for me on my work. My lifetime also saw the rise of the internet, social media and increased ease of travel. Suddenly Hawaii transformed from an isolated Island in the middle of the Pacific into a modernized hub. My generation had the tools to be inspired by both the traditional as well as the modern. We create amazing hybrids uniquely authentic to ourselves but still relevant to the rest of the world. Hawaii is a melting pot, where hybrids of culture exist and one plus one can sometimes equal three.”
In 2010 Kamea teamed up with a friend from high school Jasper Wong to build the world famous POW! WOW! a non-profit organization of contemporary artists committed to community enrichment through the creation of art outreach programs, educational programs and engaging the community in the creation and appreciation of art.
Centered around murals and art, POW! WOW! has grown into a global network of artists and organizes art exhibitions, lecture series, schools for art and music, creative community spaces, concerts, and live art installations across the globe. As a home grown and independent art festival, POW! WOW! is now recognized as one of the most premier and well-curated mural festivals in the world.
He currently resides in Honolulu, HI and is Co-Lead director of POW! WOW! Worldwide.