Tahitian Noir Posted by Roark on July 27, 2023 Photo: Drew Smith “I think that, normally, people create these dreamy, sunny images of Tahiti with lagoons and clear skies, perfect weather…but I actually love the misty, foggier, darker places in the valleys and mountains,” says Yiling Changues, one of Tahiti’s most promising young artists, describing her work and point of view to us from her small bedroom/studio in the lush mountains outside of Papeete city. “So, that’s what I was trying to evoke on some of the pieces. These places and mistier sides of the island are our home, too, and very special.” Photo: Dylan Gordon It'd been a few days here on Tahiti island, the most populous and largest island in all of French Polynesia, and we were certainly getting to know the “darker, misty” version of this paradise. While the seas and weather in the atolls of Tuamotu would be sunny and bright — most of our time on Tahiti island would be between breaks in storms or pregnant rainclouds, most which gave birth to violent squalls at night that would shake the roof on our mountain villa into the wee hours of the morning. Photo: Dylan Gordon We’d met up with our Tahitian surf guide, Tereva David, an extremely talented Tahitian pro-surfer, introduced to us through Hinatea Boosie, a former Miss Tahiti who was guiding Roark women on their adventure elsewhere on the island. Tereva took us to a few different places that were getting waves on the north side of Tahiti — specifically, Papenoo — as it wasn’t the south shore swell season yet. Papenoo is an extremely fun Lower Trestles-like rivermouth, but was definitely loaded with bodyboarders and a grip of other famished local surfers. Photo: Dylan Gordon Regardless, everyone was really nice, and we went to some cool restaurants in Papeete at night and ate some damn good food. We also made our way through the colorful fruit stands of the capital’s Sunday Market. The raw fish at Vini Vini Snack Shop never lets you down, though. Tereva even took us to a couple places that were these downhome style food-truck spots, which were pretty cheap, offering huge portions. Picture 5 lb. plates of chicken curry over mountains of sticky white rice… Photo: Dylan Gordon One surf session, when the wind looked optimal, Tereva led us out to a shallow outer reef righthand slab near Point Venus that was alllmost working. Still a fun paddle-out and we caught a few growers that didn’t really let us exit the tube. At the moment, though, our attention was on Yiling, a young woman who designed a really fascinating capsule with Roark for the campaign. She showed us her process, and told us some stories and legends about what inspired her work. She’s fairly young, but was studying in Paris for the last ten years, recently moving back home to be a part of the art scene on the island. Extremely talented and thoughtful, Yiling’s a really cool chick. Photo: Dylan Gordon She continues. “So, back in the day, it was mostly people from the outside doing art here. Like, they’d come and they loved the light so they wanted to paint landscapes and fruits and girls.” She laughs and shrugs. “Personally, I really love to bring human-like shapes to nature because in Tahiti we are always surrounded by nature and we belong to it — not the other way around.” “That’s something I realized when I was living in Paris because we were always wondering where in nature we’d want to visit on holidays outside of the city. Where are we going, which place, which forest? It was like we were always just waiting to leave the city to go into nature. But living here, in Tahiti, it feels like this is the way it should be.” “So, in my work, I’m trying to say that we are almost becoming nature — and nature is becoming us. There’s a constant blending.” Photo: Dylan Gordon We stare down at her sketches, the same ones that made it onto a number of pieces which, ironically, we’d wear in the very same nature she was describing now. Collectively, we let that sink in and in our silence we could hear thunder booming somewhere in the distance, in dark forgotten valleys that don’t make it onto postcards, the smell of rain potent in the air, a shower quickly making its way above us, the white noise of the torrents cutting through the silence. “I love the presence of animals in my designs because they were here before us,” she says. “We are coming into their space. Maybe in an eel’s space, we should live like an eel, and not try to separate it from our space because we’re afraid of it. You know what I mean?” We do. Part of proceeds from the Artist in Residence: Yiling Changues collection will go to benefit non-rpofit Tamaraii no te Moana, an organization Yiling is working with, aiding in coral restoration throughout the islands. See Product See Product See Product Continue Exploring RUN AMOK Sep 21, 2023 Give and Accept the Flowers Japan’s Daisetsuzan Traverse is a roughly 70km trail that spans Daisetsuzan... WOMEN Sep 14, 2023 Yeti Presents: Beyond Sunset Yeti recently released an epic film about Roark ambassador, Emi Erickson.... Journal Sep 01, 2023 Hurricane Hilary vs Roark Roark surfers Nate Zoller, LJ O'Leary & Max Beach find some... Journal Aug 31, 2023 Drink It Dry, (Kampai): A Roark Guide to Drinking in Hokkaido Don’t beers just taste the best when you’ve earned them? When... Run Amok Aug 30, 2023 RUN AMOK x Black Sabbath "It Runs Through Our Veins"