16" x 20" Paper Giclee
This painting was a commission request of “an Octopus with a tiki mug collection”.
However, when the idea wound it’s way through my brain it changed into a mysterious sunken treasure being discovered by a vintage deep sea diver. The treasure hunter reaches for three tikis.
• One tiki representing the ‘Kona style’ tiki popular in Hawaii,
• One tiki from the Marquesa islands,
• The third tiki’s a Kava Kava Man from Easter Island.
Unbeknownst to the diver, the treasure’s guardian rises up behind him. In it’s huge green jelly head the fourth tiki is revealed: an infamous sky-head tiki. A representation of the Hawaiian god of war; “Ku”. I’ve seen one of these tikis in person at the Bishop Museum on Oahu. It’s head is covered in bright blood red feathers, it’s mouth is lined with jagged dog teeth, and it’s eyes are glaring shells - giving it a sense of malevolent life. The curator told me a few of the urban legends surrounding this idol: In ancient Hawaii during battles, a kahuna (priest ) would hold it high above his head and when first blood was spilt an eerie high howling would issue from the tiki. The museum had it on display in the front hallway, just out side the huge room exhibits. I asked why it was out here instead of inside the main exhibit. I was told that when it was left inside, every morning the museum workers would find things disturbed and moved about in the exhibits. It seemed the ancient artifacts didn’t get along with the dog toothed red feathered tiki. So, in my painting, embedded inside the giant Squid Head is the angry Ku-Tiki, driving the creature on it’s malevolent task.