I met Polynesian artist and designer Orama Nigou while researching an object recently identified as a possible fragment of the so-called Walli maro ‘ura. Maro ‘ura are sacred belts made out of tapa—beaten inner bark cloth—and covered with feathers, once worn by the greatest chiefs of some of the Society Islands, in French Polynesia. This particular object, currently housed in musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac (Paris, France), is said to be the only fragment of maro ‘ura still preserved in the world. It is known as “Wallis” because it features a British flag just like the one planted in 1767 on the island of Tahiti by the crew of Captain Samuel Wallis to take possession of the land for the British Crown. [...]Photo: Textiles Selfportrait - 1 series © Photo Maud Betton Editing by Orama Nigou
You are the only Polynesian who has been able to observe in detail an object from the musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac (mqB-JC) which is said to be a fragment of the Wallis maro ‘ura. What can you tell us about the identification and naming of this piece?