My beautiful and very talented friend, Valerie, created a sand art masterpiece for us. She is a self-taught artist well-known all-over French Polynesia. She sells and sends her art to the States, Canada, France and Tahiti. It will be very difficult to showcase her creations as you just can’t appreciate the intricacy without seeing it in person. But I will endeavor to try for you.
Valerie uses local, natural sand and soil for all of her work. First, she considers her customer and creates a story for them. This story is then conveyed using Polynesian symbols and designs. The second step starts with outlining the story on graph paper. The third step is artfully and carefully gluing the particles of sand and soil into place. Yep, you read that right. She applies hundreds of thousands of particles of sand and soil individually to create her sand art.
Breaking down the artwork by sections…
The Fairytale of My Life
The 1 represents Matt. He is the man, solid. He gave and continues to give force and protection to his wife, Christine. The 2 represents, Christine. She passed from life to death and from death to life. Matt (3) and Christine, as the wind comes from the North (4), travel across the ocean (5). With their love and passion (6)., they take care of each other and their home (7). Generously (8) giving. Christine, you are a beautiful woman (9) and Matt is your hero (20). Like the bird, you always take flight (11) to other islands and countries.
Starting at lower right corner.
- Arm/Leg “Puha tahi” (bend with two matching ends) = Matt. Force, solid, protection
- Marquesan Cross “Peka ‘enana” (above arm, square) = Christine. Transformation, cycle of eternity, from life to death and death to life.
- Man “Vahana” = Matt. The husband. Woman = Christine. The wife. (stacked man with woman above)
- Cohort of the Tiu God “Pi’I ia o Tiu” (design looks like X’s with dots on top). Wind from the North. Those that go beyond the sea
- Sea “Tai” (waves over arch). To Travel.
- Love “Hinena’o” (looks like checkerboard under the waves). Love passionately. My lovely wide.
- Woven material “’A ‘aka ha’a” (zig zag with lines under love). Made with Pandanus Odoratissimus leaves. Woven together for life. Home, family, take care of each other.
- Arm (armpit) “Ka’ake” (bottom center, below bird and shooting up to the left of the arm/leg #1) force of generosity, gift of love, cherishment.
- Woman’s belly “hope vehnine” (two images, left of Marquesan cross). Femininity, beauty.
- Manta Ray “Haha’ua” (center). Men’s protector animal and wisdom.
Continuing the Journey
You are always read to listen and understand others (12). The ancestor’s spirit protects you (13) and also the good luck spirit gives you power (14). You’ve got courage to brave (15) the ocean even when it’s raining, windy, and stormy.
- Bird “Manu” (bottom. Semi-circle) Taking flight, soul’s journey
- Ear “Pua’ika” (left of bird, looks like surfer’s “s”) always ready to listen, understanding
- Sacred Divinity “Etua po’o’u” (below bird and ear). A protector or ancestor’s spirit.
- Glinting / Gleaming look “Mata Hoata” (type of tiki. To the left of Sacred Divinity) Good luck spirit which gives power. Awaken to the world.
- Ornament for the calf “Poe vae” (Two stripes from Sacred Divinity to flower. Hourglass design) Represents courage and bravery.
The Guiding Star
The compass (16) is your star who guides you across the ocean. Success (18) in all your life, trip, and love. As the turtle (17), you always return to the sea (19). For our continued journey to see and meet other worlds and new friends.
I zoomed in on a small portion of the photo with the hopes that you can see the sand particles. There are dozens of colors of sand in this small corner alone.
This is a photo of the sand art as a work in progress…she has drawn it out and is working on adhering the sand.
And the final masterpiece of sand art….
Me and Valerie, the artist extraordinaire!
It takes Valerie between 3-4 weeks to complete one sand art creation. She inspires me and leaves me speechless with her talent!
Events from this blog post occurred during the end of March. Our blog posts run 8 weeks behind our adventures.