Last week, while pondering a painter and works to indulge myself in, I came across Otahi Allein by Gauguin.
After a vivid flash-back and a chuckle, I knew Gauguin and his beautiful Otahi would be my choice.
The flash-back was a memory of myself at about seventeen years of age walking down K Road, Auckland, NZ. K Road to locals, but to out-of-townies – Karangahape Road; because that is what is on the sign post! There are plenty of stories of locals telling visitors to go to K Road to get something at the shops. The visitors report back later that they couldn’t find Kay Road anywhere!
To further set the scene for this blog, you need to know that I love autumnal colours. You may have heard me state that before. It’s true!
And the last piece of information you need to know, before I bring all this to a well overdue conclusion is…I love doing things for myself. I have a manufacturing mentality. You will find me knitting when I need to, smocking, cake decorating, building a house and even sewing. In fact that was the first thing I learnt to do. The all-girls school I went to had dress-making as a compulsory subject when I was eleven. Ballet was compulsory as well!
Let’s pull all the above information together:
Gauguin, Karangahape Road, autumn colours and sewing are all components in my flash-back. See, I machine sewed a summer sleeveless dress. The fabric I chose had a selection of Gauguin’s paintings montaged all over it. And I wore that dress to town.
K Road was a road of ill repute after dark when I was young! I was there during the daylight hours, having walked up from Queen Street on my way to my Grandmother drapery shop in Symonds Street. Just clearing that up!
If you know anything about Paul Gauguin, you will know that his pictorial documentation of Tahitian life in the nineteenth century was captured in bright and beautifully rich autumn colours with amble flesh on display; painted objectively within cultural norms for Island life then.
Some of the painting printed on the fabric were a little risqué in New Zealand when I was a teenager. I remember being a little concerned, but my concern was swept aside by being totally in love with the art. Anyway, art turns naked to nude. Right?
I no longer have the dress or even a photo of myself wearing it, but I do remember the paintings and I am going to share them with you.
Paul Gauguin 1848-1903 was a French post-impressionist artist and like so many artists around this time, he too, struggled for acceptance. Even among his peers he had difficulty. Thankfully, he continued painting.
Please enjoy the slide show of these 7 paintings I wore.
Their titles are: –
Hail Mary 1891
When Will You Marry? 1892
Moon and The Earth 1893
Otahi Alone 1893
Where do We Come From? What are we? Where Are We Going? 1897
Two Tahitian Women 1899