We bout to gesso this 6 foot beast 👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼
The 11th print in my series of Historical Postage Stamps of the Pacific is Rapa Nui. To the locals it is 'Te Pito o Te Henua' (the navel of the earth). In Spanish it is 'Isla de Pascua'. In English it is 'Easter Island'. For many of us, it is an island steeped in mystery, intrigue & beauty. It is also one of the most remote & isolated places in the world. Although it was annexed by Chile in 1888 & today has special territory status, Chile is 3,600 km away (2,300 mi). Her closest inhabited neighbour is Pitcairn Island (2,075 km/1,289 mi) which boasts a population less than 50. • Of the postage stamps in my series so far, Rapa Nui has been the most challenging because her postal history is scarce. Due to her remoteness, mail could only be carried by the few vessels that visited the island. The first post office was opened in 1953, but mail continued to be carried by supply ships until the opening of the airport in 1967. All mail is routed through Chile & Chilean stamps are used. There are a few Rapa Nui stamps but they are only valid on the island. This print is based on a stamp issued in 1965 featuring the moai, the stone monolithic statues that Rapa Nui is so famed for. • Polynesian societies have strong oral traditions. History & lore that have been passed down for generations enables ancestral connections. Through internal warfare, exposure to European diseases & slavers, the Rapa Nui were painfully decimated by the close of the 19th century. The Peruvian slave trade (1862-1864) which swept through Polynesia (incl.Tonga, Niue, Tuvalu, Kiribati) was destructive in its hit on Rapa Nui. More than half the islands population were kidnapped, including the paramount chief & priests - the traditional gatekeepers of history & knowledge. By 1888 when the island was annexed, only around 100 Rapa Nui were left. Those holding the sacred history of the moai were tragically gone. Today it's believed that the moai were carved to honour a loved one that had passed. That they were constructed in their image & erected over their bones. The moai don't face the sea, they face inwards, towards the 'navel of the earth', as if to guard both their ancestors & their descendants.