Worker Tony Salvador shown trying to remove one of Mat Kubo's little Strykers. photo from Honolulu Advertiser by Gregory Yamamoto

To see all the Waikiki Little Strykers

In July of 2006, Mat Kubo created a public art project entitled "Miniature Monuments to Empire" to bring attention to the recent increase of militarization in Hawai'i. The artwork consists of 319 six-inch galvanized steel silhouettes of the U.S. Army's Stryker vehicle. All were adhered to 'public' sites on the island of Oahu without permission. Thirteen are in Waikiki.

Kubo chose 319 because 319 Stryker vehicles have been brought to Hawai'i. A Stryker is a light armor combat vehicle whose main function is to transport troops. However, they can also be equipped with heavier armor and weapons for offensive situations. They are stored in locations such as Hawai'i and Puget Sound to allow deployment anywhere around the world within days. They are currently being used in the occupation of Iraq.

In this most recent acceleration of militarization, the US army has acquired more than 25,000 acres of land for storage and training facilities. Roughly 32 projects involving ranges, roads, and training facilities would be developed with an estimated construction cost of $693 million. Besides the adverse affects of military exercises on the environment, Hawai'i economy is increasingly dependent on the US military's "perpetual wars" against people in Hawai'i and around the world

Locating the Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Hawai'i is just a recent development in Hawaii's long history as a military outpost for the US, providing quick and dirty access to the Asia Pacific, and now the Middle East, 'theaters' of war. Given the growing prominence of China in the global economy, the U.S. is increasing its military presence in Hawai'i in order to be able to exert its military might over East Asian targets.

Culled from conversation with Mat Kubo.