Moai Culture Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 11 October 2014 - 23 November 2014

In 2014 the Easter Island, Myths and Popular Culture exhibition opened for the first time in the southern hemisphere. The exhibition was officially opened on 11 October 2014 at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre located in Sydney, Australia, by the Second Secretary of the Chilean Embassy in Australia, Felipe Orellana Martinez, and the mayor of Liverpool City Council, Ned Mannoun.

This was the largest version of the exhibition to be displayed to date and for the first time the real extent of the many comic books and novels that focus on the moai could be seen in two superb glass cabinets. The exhibition also contained for the first time a special display focused on French and Belgian comic books (bandes dessinées), another on moai kavakava, and Makemake, and a third on Easter Island non-fiction. In total there were 11 cabinets displaying the range of moai culture.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a Cultural Symposium was held on the same day as the opening and included talks on Easter Island by Associate Professor Ian Conrich, Dr Grant McCall, and Jennifer Wagner, as well as a screening of the 1994 film Rapa Nui, introduced by Rei Tuki, who had worked on the production, and a selection of children's animations. Clay and Draw Together workshops were also available for children to create their own moai and draw rongorongo characters.


A new catalogue, Moai Culture: Easter Island and Popular Imagination, was produced to accompany the exhibition.

Jennifer Wagner and Ian Conrich

One visitor to the Sydney exhibition was inspired to make a video, which was posted on Vimeo.

Image captions

[2] The range of moai leisure wear that greets the visitor at the start of the exhibition [3] Top row display are the panels and strips for a Las Vegas slot/fruit machine [5] The exhibition drew a large crowd for its opening [7] Co-curator Ian Conrich discussing rongorongo in popular culture with a young visitor [8] Ceramic moai-shaped bowls, bottles and salt and pepper shakers [11] Liquor bottles in the shape of moai [12] Part of the large collection of moai-shaped tiki mugs [15] The appeal of Easter Island as evidenced by the range of non-fiction [16] A selection of the vinyl, cassettes and CDs featuring the moai [17] Part of the cabinet displaying the Easter Island novels [19] Part of the cabinet displaying the Easter Island comics [21] A moai-inspired game of Tintin, a feature of the cabinet devoted to French and Belgian Easter Island comics [22] Part of the moai kavakava cabinet [23] The diversity of household moai objects: from candles, flowerpots and money boxes, to incense burners, sellotape dispeners, and dog toys [24] Household objects from fish tank ornaments to tissue box holders and soap dispensers [25] Plush moai, including a golf club head cover [26] Moai accessories: keyrings, mobile phone straps, and diecast pin badges [27] Easter Island board games [29] The exhibition is opened by the mayor of Liverpool City Council, Ned Mannoun [30] The exhibition was also opened by the Second Secretary of the Chilean Embassy in Australia, Felipe Orellana Martinez [31] Dr Grant McCall, one of the guest speakers at the Easter Island Cultural Symposium, which followed the exhibition’s opening