When you drive around St Barts island, you cannot avoid passing the Col de la Tourmente. You even stop for a while to take a picture of the impressive landing of a plane on the worldwide reknowned airstrip of Rémy de Haenen airport. There, a statue stands on the roundabout. It is Savaku, the soul of St Barths.
The statue of Savaku was created by a French graphic designer, Guillaume Blanchard, and was inaugurated in August 2007. Savaku, in Arawak, the language spoken by the native inhabitants of Ouanalo island (St Barthélemy), means “the spirit of the forces of nature”, and reflects a metaphorical vision of the island by the artist.
Who is Savaku?
This Arawak Indian stands on a rock, which, seen from above, has the same shape than the island. He holds a lance in his right hand, as if protecting his land. He whistles in a conch horn, as if to give voice to the call of nature, maybe the warning of a nature too often assaulted.
He is surrounded by an iguana, representing the earth, the wiseness and the patience, and by a pelican, this seabird being the symbol of the air and of the sea, from which he takes his livelihood, as the first colons, the St-Barths, who were used to fish to feed for many years.
Lightly dressed, the pose of the warrior shows he is proud of his island, as simple and as harsh as it might be. The little dry rock is the Arawak’s wealth, ready to defend his island, body and soul.
He is pointing towards the West, the sunset direction, looking at an ending-up day. His dusk prayer resonates as the voices of his ancestors, inviting us to contemplation and meditation. The ending day is the rise of the night, a never-ending loop. Thus, the past experiences will help those who look towards the future without forgetting who they are and where they come from.
When you will park at this crossroads to take a picture of the airport, don’t forget to take a moment to admire Savaku and to think about everything he represents for the inhabitants, as much from yesterday, from today and from tomorrow!
<h5>CLV – Photos: ©PauletteMagazine, ©Vincent Prdm – Flickr</h5>