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Recently, the Surfjack teamed up with Puʻuhonua Society and Contact Hawaii and invited the community to explore an interactive contemporary art project—one unlike anything that’s ever been done at a hotel in Waikīkī before.

In preparation for the exhibit, in the span of two months we saved more than 8,000 water bottles from the Surfjack’s amenity program. The bottles were then made into an exhibit (think a bed made entirely out of the water bottles and caps) to bring awareness to the harmful effects of single use plastic and to highlight our work towards a #PlasticFreeHawaii.

Also on display: an installation dedicated to hard working immigrant Surfjack hospitality workers, complete with interactive karaoke,  and a nail-embedded chair that represented the criminalization of houselessness, to name just a few.

The entire exhibit, Reimagining Waikīkī, took place in five penthouse suites and throughout the hotel—showcasing various artist’s work that conveyed meaningful messages through eye-opening experiences. More than 600 people attended, and our mission to bring important issues to the forefront of our minds through a creative lens was a success beyond our wildest imagination.

In case you missed it, check out the images below and here‘s a quick look at the artists who participated in this experience.

1. The pool

North Waikiki Gyre

By Mark Cunningham

These buoys represent just a small faction of the marine debris & Plastic Pollution that bombard the Windward reefs & beaches of all the Hawaiian Islands. Not all plastic floats…. what may be below sea level?

2. The poolside cabanas


By Lala Openi

IN TONGUES seeks to bring into question the religious dedication that the colonizer’s world view has made to normalize the idea that non-western indigenous peoples are required to submit and package themselves, their names, their language, their culture… to appease the colonizer’s tongue.  Lala Openi & Kaleipumehana invite you to sit and interact with each of the three environments, which serve as separate but related vignettes focusing on things that sit on the tongue: Language, Food Systems in a Militarized State, and the role of Marketing Slogans & Legislation in creating a false sense of “Paradise.”  To unplug from the Matrix, visit:

3. Downstairs  TV Installation


By Sean Connelly

The scales of unfolding crisis that rises in today’s epoch of change are so deep and vast, the coming generations will be faced with the inevitable need to recover ahupua’a as a major human technic of economy. HI ATLAS, a parallel project of, is an ongoing visual data epic that aims to expand the scope through which the past of the human species, and thus the future, is perceived.


4. Penthouse entrance stairwell

Views All Around: Arrangement

By Alina Kawai

Views All Around: Arrangement is a snapshot of the Waikīkī as it exists today. Kawai’s visual references come from the built environment, architecture and the natural world. Abstracted imagery, Kalo and Monstera are arranged into biomorphic/hard-edge shapes that are painted in rich colors, creating moments of harmony, chaos, and opposition. Here, Kawai references both Waikīkī ‘s agricultural history (cultivated marshlands and fishponds once fed its inhabitants) and its commodified present. Monstera is Hawaiʻi’s favorite invasive species, its leaf shape ubiquitous, made iconic by local designers. 

5. Room 1035

Plastic Free Waikīkī

By Nikole Nelson of BLKCORAL, Mark Cunningham, Reise Kochi, and Casea Collins-Wright of the Surfjack

With over 8,000 single-use plastic water bottles saved from the Surfjack’s complimentary water amenity program over the past two months, experience an immersive installation where furniture vanishes and plastic takes over. The bed is covered with thousands of bottle caps collected throughout the neighborhoods and beaches of Waikīkī over a four-month period by BLKCORAL and the Waikīkī Community Center.

Throughout the room, discover bits and pieces of plastics found at the bottom of the O’ahu’s Windward shores by bodysurfer and ocean activist Mark Cunningham.  What many would consider vacation essentials: a go pro, toothbrushes, combs, many times inevitably end up in our ocean. 

Head outside to catch some trendy avian pool floats, often found at controversial Waikīkī floatillas, resting on a large nest of gathered ghost nets, lost and abandoned by fishermen. The birds appear armored, guarding their eggs (buoys), like found treasure. Made of entirely of polymers and metal by Reise Kochi, NEST speaks to the impact of plastics on our natural environment. Harnesses, which cover the floats, speak to mans need to manage and control our waste and consumption. 

Surfjack has committed to reducing the use of single-use plastics by discontinuing the complimentary plastic water bottle amenity, and unveiling a new, reusable water bottle program in collaboration with Kokua Hawaii Foundation’s Plastic Free Hawaii program. We hope that other hotels in Waikīkī and beyond join us in this movement towards a #PlasticFreeHawaii.

6. Room 1036


By Local Boys

Working with the visual and material languages of construction, tourism, and entertainment industries, RECON offers observations on a region in order to re-activate the hotel room as a space to re-imagine one’s relationship to place. Concrete pillar forming tubes, potted palm trees, multi-colored plastic inflatables, assorted beach towels, and black light fluorescent fixtures, amalgamate with hotel room furnishings to create a dizzying environment that amplifies the realities of present day Hawaiʻi. RECON playfully nudges viewers (visitors and residents alike) towards seemingly contradictory relations with Waikīkī — as a place of relaxation and industry. Twenty-four hours a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year, beach, party, job, site.

7. Room 1037


By Roger and Leimomi Bong

This installation asks visitors to (dis)orient themselves within the aural and visual cues — contact zones — that constitute modern-day Waikīkī. If orientation is understanding where you are in relation to your surroundings, what happens when our experience of Waikīkī is based off disparate cues?

8. Room 1039

Picture-Postcards and INTONGUES

By Analog Sunshine Recorders & Lala Openi

Enter into Picture-Postcards, an interactive pop-up darkroom experience. The Analog Sunshine Recorders transform a hotel room into a temporary darkroom, actively printing black and white postcards of contemporary Waikīkī street views featuring the work of local film photographers. Celebrate the magic of lo-fi technology and pick up a one of a kind hand-printed postcard to take home, or pop it into the in-room mailbox and we’ll send it for you.

9. Room 1038

Dahil Sa’yo

By Ara & AJ Feducia

Dahil Sa’yo is a commentary on the tourism industry’s relationship with Filipino immigrant workers. The artists honor the work of the hospitality team at the Surfjack through a video installation and a live interactive karaoke experience comprised of workers from Surfjack’s hospitality team. This open work reminds the audience of Hawai‘i’s long history of Filipino immigrants. The first group of 15 sakadas recruited by Hawaii Sugar Planters Association arrive in Honolulu in 1906 and were sent to work on the Ola‘a Plantation on the Big Island. 

According to the 2016 Census, Filipinos in Hawai’i number about 209,000 and constitute 14 percent of the state of Hawai‘i’s population. According to census figures, nearly 122,000 Filipinos are immigrants, making up 46.4 percent of the state’s foreign-born population. Dahil Sa’yo is Tagalog for “Because of You,” a popular kundiman (folk song) often sang in karaoke; a favorite Filipino pastime.  

photos by Kainoa Reponte

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