Varua Tupu

Varua TupuThe University of Hawaii Press has just published Varua Tupu, an issue of MANOA Journal containing a 216-page anthology of French Polynesian art and writing in translation. Aside from Bobby Holcomb, the writers and artists of eastern Polynesia are little known beyond their home islands, so by introducing English speakers to the cultural revival which has accompanied the Polynesian political renaissance personified by Oscar Temaru, this book serves a valuable purpose.

Too often outsiders look upon French Polynesia as a mere playground of paradise beaches and reefs, pareus, overwater bungalows, French baguettes, poisson cru, vanilla, black pearls, and other pleasing exotic things. We tend to forget the people living real lives on these islands every day. Now, through the poems, stories, memoirs, paintings, and photos in Varua Tupu, the artists of Tahiti and its islands are able to speak to us directly. Like the sailing canoe Hokule'a, this little volume links Hawaii to Tahiti and casts light across the mighty ocean which connects us all.

The Tahiti launch of Varua Tupu will take place at the James Norman Hall Museum in Arue just outside Papeete on Tuesday, August 15th, from 6 to 8:30 pm. Admission is by invitation only. The Hawaii launch will be held at Honolulu's Bishop Museum in early October.

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