Patrick Plaia, Graves of Rarotonga
Featured Artist, PhotoZone Gallery
November 5 to December 1, 2020
Reception: November 6th, 2020 from 5:00pm to 8:00pm
22 West 7th Ave.
12:00 to 6:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday
Open to the public
Rarotonga is the main island of the Cook Island group, which is located in the South Pacific between the Fiji Islands and the Polynesian Islands. It is populated by Polynesian Maori and New Zealand English. I visited the Islands for three weeks in the Spring of 2001.
Traveling around the Islands I noticed graves and gravestones decorated with colorful plastic flowers and portraits of the deceased. These gravestones were not only in churchyards but along roadsides, on the edges of farm fields, and in resident’s front yards. The Maori are very connected with their ancestors and feel more confortable having past family members close by. Their relationship with the deceased shows a blend of native religion and Christianity.
I photographed this project on black and white infrared film. They are printed on silver gelatin photographic paper and hand painted with oils.