From the early contacts with Europeans, the Marquesas archipelago is known for its wood and bone carving, stone sculptures, barkcloth or tapa and tattoos. Tattooed Marquesans are shown in the travelogues of 18th and 19th century travellers. The objects were collected and often found their way into museums and private collections in Europe and North America. With the disappearance of authentic pieces the artistic culture of the Marquesas certainly did not disappear. However, in the course of the 19th century, the art forms changed, partly under the influence of missionary work.
In the mid-1970s, a revaluation of traditional Marquesan culture arose. This also brought a revival of the traditional characteristic material culture. Nowadays on the islands you encounter modern wooden and stone sculptures in public places. Carvers also make beautiful bowls, statues and jewelry made of wood, bone and stone. The contemporary pieces show a clear continuity of a tradition. There are also artisans who experiment with new forms and trends, which are nevertheless grafted on old traditions.
The art objects are made for sale to interested parties, both in the Marquesan Archipelago and in French Polynesia as a whole. Outside French Polynesia however, you will have difficulty to find contemporary pieces. The artisans themselves in general are interested in broadening their market. However, Europe is far away and that means relatively high transport and travel costs. Galerie Caroline would like to offer an opportunity to bridge this distance.
Galerie Caroline likes to put names and faces to the objects in its collection. There's real people involved in making them. There's a story to tell with each object. This way they become more than just inanimate objects. No matter if it is a wooden tiki, a bone ornament or a piece of decorated tapa. Artisans as well as their art are alive and are a part of our present-day world.
Many objects in our collection have been purchased from the artisans themselves. If not, we have tried to gather as much information as possible to make sure that there's more than just an object.