Galerie Caroline

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From the cradle of tattoo: Contemporary tribal art of the Marquesas

Galerie Caroline from Ossendrecht imports and sells art objects from Polynesia, and especially of the Marquesas Islands. These islands are traditionally known for their rich tradition of tattooing and tattoo motifs.

Most objects at Galerie Caroline are made of wood, stone, bone or shell. Human-like figures (tiki) with tattoos on belly, arms and buttocks, richly decorated bowls, pestles and pendants of flower stone, little tiki's, earrings ... But you'll also find decorated barkcloth or tapa from Fiji and Samoa. Everything is handmade using traditional methods. In addition to traditional forms and motifs there are also modern interpretations of Polynesian to be found in the collection of the modest gallery.

Caroline van Santen and Antoine Vanhemelrijk, the people behind this gallery, buy the objects directly from the artists or through local (mostly cooperative) outlets. They note that it is often the artists' family who arrange the sale. The artists are often very modest and do not like to place themselves in the foreground. The islands where they live and work are small and located relatively far away in the Pacific. They can, therefore, usually not live from their craft and craftsmanship; the market is too small.

Via the website a part of the collection can be found. There you can also find some information about the region and the artists. Since contemporary tribal art from Polynesia and certainly the art from the Marquesas is practically impossible to find in this part of the world, the gallery wants to reach out to a new market. This way the gallery hopes in a direct sense to support the rich cultural heritage of the Marquesas.

So please visit our website at or our Facebook page at to keep up-to-date with what we have on offer, what we do and where to find us...

General info

Name:Galerie Caroline


  1. Art