Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Moais in Paris

Easter Island statue to make a pilgrimage to Paris

Moai has a mission to reform the conscience of humanity, say islanders

The Independent, By John Lichfield, December 16

Paris - An unusually large tourist will visit Paris in 2010. One of the vast statues of elongated human heads and torsos from Easter Island in the Pacific has "expressed the wish" to visit the French capital to preach – silently – against Western materialism.

The statue has let it be known to the island's leaders that it wanted to make the pilgrimage, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported yesterday. Two islanders, including the governor's nephew, have made a preparatory visit and concluded that one of the statues or moais, which range up to 30ft high and 90 tons in weight, should stand in the middle of the Tuileries gardens, halfway between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde.

"Everyone on the island knows that a moai is going to Paris," Edgard Hedreveri, the Easter Island tourism director, told Le Figaro. "It is going to find a platform in Paris to spread spiritual energy which will change the conscience of humanity. It is going to transform the materialistic conscience of the world into something more humane."

The nearly 10,000-mile journey to Paris from Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean, the world's most isolated inhabited island, will be organised by an Italian foundation. The cost of the anti-materialist pilgrimage will be covered – somewhat inappropriately – by the French luxury goods company Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH). There are almost 900 Easter Island statues, carved from compressed volcanic ash between 400 AD and the early 1700s. Although other statues have been stolen or removed to museums, this will be the first time one has been sent on a spiritual journey by the island's government.


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