Today we have guest blogger Anastasija Kristala-Urbanski discussing the heads of Easter Island and how they inspire her work.
I have been always curious about those strange statues on the little Polynesian island in the Southeastern Pacific Ocean. I did not know much about Easter Island before and did not expect that sometime soon the culture and history of it would become one of my biggest fascinations and one of the main inspirations for my handmade designs.
As history suggests, Easter Island (Polynesian: Rapa Nui) was settled by a very small group of Polynesian people, who were looking for a place to settle because their home island was possibly swallowed by the ocean. These first islanders found a paradise on Easter Island – nature was rich and thriving, there were a lot of plants, animals and also there were about 16 million trees on the island! People were all set for a great life in their new home. But one of the versions suggests that over time vigorous farming and over exploiting of the natural resources lead to a disaster – there were way too many people who used the resources for farming, and soon plants, trees and animals were almost gone.
But despite all the environmental troubles, Rapa Nui islanders managed to build 887 giant monolithic human figures, called Moai, which were carved out of solid rock. You definitely know them as giant heads sticking out of the ground in Easter Island.
Archaeologists suggest that Moai are symbols of authority and power, they believe that monolithic statues were a representation of the ancient Polynesian ancestors.
Moai are known as “Easter Island heads” but in reality they do have bodies. Many people are not aware of that because the early photographs of statues have documented only Moai heads only, which were sticking out of the ground with their bodies buried till shoulders. Statues do not have clearly visible legs, except for only one kneeling Moai. These statues come in various forms and shapes but they have few features in common – they all have over-large heads, strong jaws, heavy brows, elongated noses and thin pouty lips. All these features bring proud and enigmatic expression on the faces of these mysterious monoliths.
Simplistic, but amazing, design of Moai inspired me to incorporate “Easter Island heads” into my own designs. The story behind my inspiration is a bit silly, but unusual to me – three nights in a row I had the same dream of me standing somewhere on Easter Island during a starry night and staring at Moai silhouettes. By the time I saw this dream for the the third time, I knew that I need to do something to preserve the memory about the dream. I came up with tribal style Moai head beads and I think they turned out pretty cute. Also, travel to Rapa Nui Easter Island is now on my to-do list!