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The sources of inspiration

art & culture

Hiva Oa, the best known of the Marquesas Islands, has welcomed many illustrious guests: Paul Gauguin, Jacques Brel, Herman Melville, Pierre Loti…

Great artists have been able to express the immense emotion that captures visitors to the Marquesas. Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel, who rest for eternity in the cemetery of Atuona, passed the end of their life in Hiva Oa, finding inspiration here for their latest creations.

‘Due to a lack of wind, time stops in the Marquesas', wrote Brel, a beautiful metaphor for the unique and magical atmosphere of the island, whose steep peaks and cliffs, large bays, and valleys never fail to impress travellers. Artisans here continue the tradition — human-shaped sculptures carved in stone, wood or coral. Iipona has the biggest in all of Polynesia. While at Taaoa, under the tropical almond, Tahitian chestnut and banyan trees, other cultural and religious relics can be admired, in the imposing shadow of the 1,300-metre-high Mount Temetiu.

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