In May 2014 I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Paris with my baby and my mother, to attend the opening of an exhibition at Musee du quai Branly, called 'Tattooers, Tattooed' that featured one of my paintings.
While I was in Paris for the exhibition opening, I also did some tattooing. Most of the people that got kirituhi by me were French - and all of them were very respectful, grateful and appreciative of Māori culture.
We were there for about two weeks, and it was awesome! It was my first time in Europe and I definitely want to go back there. We stayed in an apartment close to the Eiffel Tower and Musee du quai Branly for the first week, and then we moved to the Montemartre Arrondissement which is known for hosting many artists over the centuries, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali and Vincent Van Gogh. I really liked the diversity of the Montemartre area, and there was heaps to see and do there.
Some of the things that I loved about Paris:
The museums. They seemed to have a museum for everything imaginable! Visiting Musee du Louvre was definitely a highlight.
The food. Of course Paris is known for its cuisine and wine, and it did not disappoint! Breakfast, lunch and dinner was always a treat, and I loved to have my morning coffee at a little cafe on the street, watching all the different people go by.
The attention to detail. I really noticed how seemingly everything is beautified or ornately detailed in some way. The most unexpected and mundane things had the effort and time put into making them aesthetically pleasing. Presentation in Paris is really big and it was lovely to experience such attention to detail.
Catching the metro out to the suburbs with some of my friends from Newtown, Wellington (yes they were in Paris at the same time as me!) to watch a Rod Taylor reggae gig was some unexpected fun!
A spontaneous freestyle jam in the streets of Montmartre with some new friends we had just met that had a guitalele (the first time I had ever seen such an instrument) was a really memorable moment.
Going on an impromptu adventure on foot and by metro, around Paris with my Italian client-turned-new-friend, Domenica, was really enjoyable.
Eating small portions of several delicious dishes whilst standing up at a tiny place in St Germaine with another new friend was pretty cool - and walking around the streets afterwards, looking in the windows of all the art galleries of that area was the best part.
The fashion. There are so many people from all around the world in Paris, and I loved checking out all of the different styles that people were rocking. Even the men get into fashion over there, and they were super stylish!
I met some great people and made some cool friends and I am super grateful and appreciative for the experience! Thank you Paris! Here is a French article about the Māori section of the exhibition in Paris.