An Easter Island Home for a French Artist

Easter Island, sometimes referred to as Rapa Nui, is a territory of Chile located in the Pacific Ocean. A French-born artist who resides on the island is donating exquisite presents to the Roman Catholic Church on the island. Born in Paris fifty-two years ago, artist Delphine Poulain has been enamored with Rapa Nui since her initial visit in 1994. She grinned as she considered her choice. “I first realized I wanted to live here while riding a horse through the beach,” the woman recalled. About 7,700 people live on the island, and Poulain said she appreciates the freedom and tranquility it offers.


Poulain sent a gift last year: stained-glass windows that depicted significant events leading up to and including the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 14 Stations of the Cross are displayed in the windows. The principal city on the island, Hanga Roa, received them as a gift from Holy Cross Church. Although the Rapanui population is predominantly Catholic, its religious practices are influenced by its indigenous traditions. Rapanui translations of biblical stories are found in the music sung at church services. Unlike Western representations, the wooden statues depict Christian figures like the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Rather, the art of the islanders’ forefathers had an influence on them.


Mary’s statue, which is located close to the church altar, resembles the ancient human figurines known as moai. The third emblem of the Holy Trinity, located at the main entrance, is a manutara, a bird that was revered more than 120 years ago rather than a dove. The Rapanui people are fierce defenders of who they are. On occasion, they will only accept visitors if they make an effort to become familiar with the customs of the islanders. This is written on a monument containing the ashes of missionary Sebasti├ín Englert: “He lived among us and spoke our language.”

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