MATAVAA, THE MARQUESAN ART FESTIVAL
On the island of Tahuata, reigns the wild world of tattooed warriors taking the rattle of the pig and women dancing like graceful birds. For this 11th edition of the Art Festival of Marquesas, The Matavaa, the dancers have been training for two years to honor a culture that has given back their identity. More than a festival it’s a return to the roots that takes place on the "Terre des hommes". Nearly five hundred dancers from the five neighboring islands come to perform Haka (dance) that give everyone shivers. Barefoot, dressed in costumes made from vegetable, wearing feathered ornaments and showing their large tattoos, they dance and hit the earth at the rhythm of powerful « pahu" (drums). Each island is proud to represent a people who was banned from their language and customs after the arrival of the brave Roman Catholic missionaries in the 19th century. Thus, tattoo makers, artists, sculptors, and dancers proudly connect to the basic gestures of the ancient culture. The festival is dedicated to the Marquesan with only few tourists visiting. The younger generations are seized, transported by the history told to them and which is their. Older people are appeased to see the next generation on the move. Tehiki is a great exemple of this enthusiastic youth, a 28-year-old man, grew up in France with a marquisan father. Originally from Hiva Oa in search of identity reconnects with its roots by worthily play the role of the warrior. For four days, the small valley of Vaitahu made transcend the "mana", the spiritual energy of the Marquesas Islands.
This work have done the cover of Air Tahiti Magazine in May 2018 with a 10 pages featured story written by journalist Charlotte Guillemot.