TIKI IN PARIS
After using up a pair of the cheapest flights to France ever bought ( return.....ok...it was from London to Paris and back), my wife and I found ourselves in the world's romance capital. This was also an opportunity to search for Tiki in a place where the attitude towards the Pacific seemed to be just the place where they test atom bombs.
However, armed with a few leads culled from a variety of search engines and this fine Yahoo group, we set out (between cafe & bar visits)in search of Tiki.
The first stop, located on the Left Bank, was the 'Maison de Tahiti & Des Isles', essentially the Tahiti Tourist Board. The reason for the visit was the exhibition 'TIKI DREAMS' by Stephane Cazenave, which was recommended by Bigbrotiki. It turned out to be a wonderful display of watercolour & ink paintings created during a 2 year spell in Tahiti by Stephane. The delicate nature of the paintings was quite different from the brash, bold renderings that you associate with Tiki art, but they came off well. You'll be able to check some out yourself in the future, as hopefully Stephane will be featured in 'Taboo - The Art of Tiki 2'.
We got a chance to chat to Stephane and pass on Bigbrotiki's regards. It turned out that he's getting a book on Tahiti published soon (words only, sadly, and probably just in French!). There's also a book of paintings pencilled in for the future.
We left clutching a signed poster, and went upstairs to take a few photos of the great wooden Tiki statues scattered around the Tahitian House. We also picked up a bunch of brochures about Tahiti, which seems to be somewhat left off the Tiki route due to the French language. Oddly enough, the brochures pointed to Tahiti being a true centre of Tiki. There's an entire resort there called 'Tiki Village' which seems to be the ultimate Polynesian tourist tiki experience. You can get married there, towed out to sea and back on a raft with wooden Tiki statues, accompanied by a guitar player. Great stuff!
Away from the show, we searched for more Tiki. Sadly, 'Le Paillote' (The Straw Hut) was closed, possibly permanantly. This was a jazz club, with a 'tropical feel', which had potential. We had better luck at one of the major flea markets, picking up an unusual 'stone' tiki statue for 90 francs (beaten down from 150). We also happened upon a shop selling ancient Pacific art, near the Pompidou Centre. It was closed, but through the windows we could see a 7 foot carved Tiki. It was great to see it, but it seemed a shame to think that this (obviously old) statue would be sold to one person, and seen by a relative few.
So....we found a big Tiki, bought a small one, saw a great exhibition, and grabbed enough brochures to realise where we want to go for our next vacation. (I won't mention the cocktails.......)