‘Art in movement’ or ‘the emergence of a contemporary art in Tahiti’: this is the title of a book by Tauhiti Nena,
Minister of Culture in Mr Oscar Temaru’s government, and Chantal Selva,
Technical adviser in Contemporary Art.
As asked previously about Maohi
(Polynesian) Literature, a few were still asking: ‘Is there a Polynesian contemporary Art?’
Polynesian writers had put an
end to this absurd question by putting out a few years ago a Literary Journal:
the Littérama’ohi. Will ‘Art in movement’ clear up the shadow behind which our artists have been
hidden till this day? We are hoping so!
Of their study of the
Polynesian Contemporary Art and artists of the shade, as they name them, the
authors identified three tendencies named as follow: Survival Art, Nati Art and Individual
Mythologies. Three tendencies as opposed to Wanabee Art which works on keeping up bad clichés of a Polynesia destined to tourists.
The artists of the shade or Survival Art practise an art of
survival renewing the tradition by their contemporary glance.
The artists of the bond or Nati Art, as for them, seek to
understand their identity by confronting it with other cultures. Nati, Polynesian word which means to tie, implies a step of bond, opening
and mutual enrichment.
Then we have Individual Mythologies: these artists
confront themselves not with the complexity of the cultures, but primarily with
the pictorial or natural manner.
Tehina, one of the artists
quoted in this book, is part of the Individual Mythologies.
His paintings are the screens
of moments in the life of Tehina whose favourite topic is: the lovers.
love! His love for a woman whom one finds everywhere, even in the face of a
musician who borrows his features.
What is the artist learning? That
he is deeply connected to his culture, even his imaginary is nourished of his
This book tells the singular
course of artists such as: LéonTaerea, Tihoti, Matatai, Laïza Pauteha, André
Marere, Tehina, Tony and Mate the Marquises sculptors, and many others who
translate the ancestral values in a contemporary language.
What one can retain of Nena
and Selva’s work: a political will to recognize the Polynesian artists and
their value in society by giving them a full share in it.
One can also note that they
dare to evoke, from the English terms chosen, ‘Survival Art’, ‘Nati Art’,
the so obvious membership of a French-speaking Polynesia isolated in the Anglophone
Polynesian Pacific, in the wide world which surrounds it, the Pacific triangle,
the original people of Moana Nui.
This book makes it possible to
discover Polynesian artists but also a contemporary Polynesian spirit. It is a
first book. It is only a first book, for many artists have not been presented yet:
Maui, the Chaussoy brothers, Raymond Vigor, Michel Ko, Sabrina, Vaea Sylvain,
Maire Vallaux, etc… and so many others…