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Hawaii: Restoration of Waikiki mural is a work of art

Hawaii: Restoration of Waikiki mural is a work of art
A restored mural made of ceramic tiles rises 31 stories up the side of the Rainbow Tower. (Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort)

A towering rainbow of mosaic tiles once again glitters at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.

The original mural, which soared 31 stories up the side of the Rainbow Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, was unveiled in 1968. Exposure to the sun and sea air caused the creation by Pomona native Millard Sheets to fade.

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Recognizing the mural's uniqueness and value, Hilton Hotels spent more than $4 million on a replica that's 286 feet tall by 26 feet wide.

"It is synonymous with Waikiki and is actually a celebrity in its own right," Jerry Gibson, a Hilton Hawaii vice president, said in a news release. "It has been the backdrop in many movies, TV shows and thousands of vacation photos taken on Waikiki Beach."

British company Johnson Tiles used intricate studies of the original version comparisons to re-create the mural. The new version contains 31,000 tiles, nearly twice the 16,000 in Sheets' original piece.

The new mural was unveiled during a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony in late June.

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