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The Enlightenment in Tahiti or the story of a tragic misunderstanding

This article is an adaptation of our conference De la Vahiné à Vaiana : mythologies européennes de l'Océanie, des Lumières de la philosophie à celles des projecteurs, which was held at the École du Louvre on 27 March 2019, as part of our partnership with the Bureau Des Élèves de l'École du Louvre for the "Mythes et Légendes" gala.

White sandy beaches, turquoise waters and vahines: these are the few images that come to mind for many of us when we think of Oceania. If the paradisiacal landscapes do exist, what about those famous vahines? Eternally accompanied by her ukulele, following the steps of a lascivious dance... the Polynesian woman as seen in the popular imagination seems to give a foretaste of paradise. Read More