In This Episode
Today: Unboxing the Dark Side
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The Force Is Strong
In the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia really does seem like a galaxy far, far away. There, on the island of Tahiti, lives a young
Jedi artist named Tahe. Using the area’s natural materials, from bone to shell, Tahe creates pop art that bridges the gap between Polynesian culture and the modern world.
The Force is strong with this one. Let’s see what Tahe has to say…
Q: What is your Vader made of?
A: The majority of the helmet is teak wood that I carved and added coconut fiber braids and shell to. The tusks and the teeth are real—from the Marquesas Islands, where people hunt in order to survive and nothing goes to waste. Tusks like these are used for necklaces, skin for musical instruments, bones for tattoo machines, and so on.
Q: How long did it take to create?
A: One month.
Q: What inspired Vader? Are you a big Star Wars fan?
A: Who isn’t! This piece was inspired by an ancient Marquesan ritual. They would customize the skulls of very important people after death—adding tusks to the jaw and connecting them with coconut fiber braids. To make the helmet, I even used a Marquesan weapon called the head breaker.
Q: What made you interested in how Island culture was being influence by the Western world?
A: I once saw a Tahitian guy trading his raw fish for a Big Mac. There was something that felt obviously wrong about it, but nobody questioned it. I just wanted to emphasize it.
Much like Tahe’s helmet was inspired by the Marquesans, Darth Vader’s costume was inspired by ancient Samurai armor, but, believe it or not, the iconic helmet wasn’t even part of the original design! George Lucas originally imagined the Sith Lord wearing a black silk scarf over his face.
UNBOXING THE UNBELIEVABLE
With 32 odditoriums around the world, as well as traveling shows to fill with the oddest items imaginable, the team at Ripley’s never stops looking for new and bizarre exhibits to expand our collection. Once acquired, those freaky finds make their first appearance at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! warehouse, where they are unboxed, uncrated and unwrapped! Join us as we take a look at our purchases for the very first time, unboxing the truly unbelievable.