Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Exhibition at Arue, Tahiti

To compliment the Bounty celebrations in Tahiti this year,
 a group including New Zealand-based Norfolk Island artists Sue Pearson and Jean Clarkson along with Pitcairn Islander Meralda Warren, and myself opened an art exhibition and book launch at the Town Hall of Arue, Tahiti.
Arue is in the area which at the time of Bligh and Cook was called Pare.  Pare was where much of the royalty lived in those times. 
It was fitting and immensely touching to hold the exhibition in such an historical area.  The town hall comprises of a set of gorgeous colonial-style buildings surrounded by beautifully kept gardens.  
At the same time as our exhibition, the town hall was also hosting a crafts festival, so that the two complimented each other perfectly.


You may wonder why we called this blog 'Tattoo and Tapa'. Tihoti's passion is design using the ancient symbols used by his tupuna or ancestors. Mine is the same, but applied on a different surface.

The designs used by Tahitians in 'tatau' (tattoo) often crossed over into the designs used in 'ahu (tapa) decoration. Some of the deep symbolism used in tatau today in Tahiti is lost, although Tihoti feels that by using nature as our inspiration we can come to understand these designs again, and from there evolve those designs beyond our misunderstandings. But that understanding has to come from a Polynesian perspective.

I am fascinated by the designs and colours used in the ancient 'ahu - everything was symbolic. Much of this knowledge is forgotten today: but not entirely. For me it has become an exhilarating adventure of rediscovery.