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Sea Wall Murals – Okinawa’s Ephemeral Fine Art

By: Stephen Carr

Date Posted: 2000-06-02

If you take a walk by the ocean in Mihama, you may come across some remarkably good murals painted on the inside of the sea wall. This is a fairly well hidden location, making the murals all the more of a surprise when you do come across them.

If you go down the track that borders the sea, leaving the Chatan-Cho Indoor Baseball Stadium (near Jusco shopping complex) on your right and walk for five or ten minutes you will see the paintings.

Another surprise is that they are completely free of graffiti, whereas if you carry on walking you will round a bend and come to an exposed area where many once lovely murals have already been vandalized by the spray-can contingent.

The reason they are still intact is that the police have been asked to keep an eye on the wall, not all of which has yet been covered in pictures.

For the last four or five years Chatan City has been running a competition for aspirant wall artists which attracts 30 to 50 entrants each year. Any Okinawan is free to enter, either as an individual or institution such as a club or school.

Once permission has been granted, the artist takes his or her paints and brushes to the site and completes the work on either of the Carnival Days, August 5 and 6, 2000.

The Seaport Chatan Carnival Committee is for the first time considering allowing foreigners to apply for wall art space, although a final decision on the subject is yet to be made.

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