Posted by: mikeyfreedom | September 8, 2007


Te Henua Enana/Te fenua Enata, “the land of men” – most people know these chain of islands as the Marquesas (Îles Marquises), named such, after Spanish explorer A’lvaro de Mendana de Neira who reached them in 1595.

Naming them such after the Viceroy of Peru – “Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, Marquis of Canete”.

Marquesan lino print

Marquesan Tiki – Lino Print .2001. M.Lothian.Copyright.

The Land of men is broken into three respective groupings based on dialect of language, the southern islands being – Eiao , Hatutu, Motu Iti, Motu ‘Oa, Motu One, Nuku Hiva, and Ua Pou. The Northern islands with – Fatu Hiva, Fatu Huku, Hiva ‘Oa, Moho Tani, Motu Nao, Tahuata and Terihi. Ua Huka whilst being usually placed within the northern group is better explained as transitional and therefore forming the third group.

Marquesan extended summer

Marquesan Summer- 2005. M.Lothian.Copyright.

Long before Paul Gauguin, Herman Melville or Robert Louis Stevenson layed heart, hands and eyes upon the “Te Henua Enana”, The Marquesans were exsisting within the frame work of a highly developed society, a culture of intricate and artistic type that reflected the dictates of its environment.

My Interests as much as they are cultural and to simply look upon the sheer marvel of its natural beauty, are the peoples a depth artistic forms that have transfixed many since its exposure to the rest of the world!

As Paul Gauguin gave his letter reader insight to……….

” The people in Europe do not seem to realize that both the Maori’s of New Zealand and the Marquesans had evolved a very advanced type of decorative art.”

“The Marquesans especially have a extraordinary sense of decoration. Give a Marquesan an object of any geometric shape, even hump backed, rounded geometry, and he will manage to make everything harmonious without leaving any shocking and disparate empty place.”

“…………………….. let’s get back to Marquesan art!”

To Avant et Apres,

from Paul Gauguin – Atuona, Hiva Oa, 1903 ( he died on 8th May 1903.)

Nuku Hivan man

Tattooed Nuku Hivan Man. – 2005. Main Street – Hiva Oa. -2005.

c. photos by Froda. Co-founder of HOIST

Although history has subjected much upon the people of the Marquesas, its population is ever increasing and its arts have reborn, a strong sense of being “Te Henua Te Nana” is at the foremost of their minds.

Whilst Samoa is called the heart of Polynesia, the Marquesas can be liken to the veins from which the blood flows – it is indeed an all important link to the character, arts and culture of the entire dynamics of Polynesia – once a forgotten place, it is again an emerging nation, on its journey as a people and an island group!


This year from December 17 – 20, 2007 – The Marquesan Arts festival will being taking place on Ua Pou , the festival of arts and culture will be the 7th such event , known as “Matavaa O Te Henua Enana” – the theme of the festival will be “Tuhuka”. (Tufuga, Tahuna, Kahuna ) – Those that are expert, skilled in their chosen fields, those that held the knowledge, ( in wayfinding/open sea navigation, tattoo, carving, medicine, chant, religion etc.) Ten workshops under the theme of “Tuhuka ” will take place, delegations from across the pacific will convene for this occasion – over four days.

The president of the festival organizing committee is Benjamin Teikihuupoko.
To Contact the festival committee,( in Hakahau) Phone: (689) 91 50 40; fax: 91 50 41, e-mail: commtuhuka@mai


The Marquesas to me is a place unlike many – its geography, its art and history is sublime and its inspiration immeasurable to me!

For years i sought to depict its charm and intensity, and the need to do so just hasn’t ended ~! 🙂

I have recently started a new painting , entitled “FATU HIVA” , a painting of Hanavave (Bay of virgins) It is ongoing. I will periodically give updates to its development here, adding images to each stage of its completion!

Hopefully you will catch a glimpse of what i found in “Te Henua Te Enana”

Stage 1. Oils on wood. August 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

Stage 2. Oils on wood. August 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

Stage 3. Oils on wood. September 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

Stage 4. Oils on wood. September 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

Stage 5. Oils on wood. September 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

marquesas painting

Stage 6. Oils on wood. September 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

Stage 7. Oils on wood. October 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

Fatu Hiva update

Stage 8. Oils on wood. October 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

* I am nearing completion –

Some more fiddling is taking place and i am finding that Leonardo da Vinci’s words ring true! – That “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” >>>>>

Stage 9. Oils on wood. November 2007. M.Lothian.Copyright.

The progression of a painter’s work as it travels in time from point to point, will be toward clarity.. toward the elimination of all obstacles between the painter and the idea.. and the idea and the observer.. To achieve this clarity is inevitably to be understood. – Mark Rothko.



    Tena Koe Mikey here a link of whats discussed on whakapapa forum
    love it when you give us the opportunity to browse through zour work even when its a work in progress..simply stunning kia ora

  2. Thanks for the link and dropping by – catch ya on the papa panui! 🙂

    Kia ora

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