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Behind the Scenes at Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise exhibition!


Think you know all there is to know about Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise? Learn a few fun facts before your visit!


There is only one different wooden tiki within the entire Gardens.  Keep on the lookout for this special one! 

Outside the Tropical Conservatory, a lone Marquesan Open-Arm Tiki stands in the Bonsai exhibit. Carved from a palm trunk and made in Bali, this is the only Marquesan-style tiki in the entire exhibit. Additional hand-carved cypress tiki statues are scattered throughout the Gardens and are surrounded by rich flora to orient visitors to an immersive experience and evoke a sense of being in Polynesia during Gauguin’s travels.

How many edible plants can you find throughout the Exhibit? Staples of Polynesian cuisine are scattered throughout the Gardens, and the number may surprise you.

blankAlong with the Garden’s collection of orchids and bromeliads on display, there is a selection of edible plants in the exhibition. For instance, taro, or Colocasia esculenta, was an important form of starch in the Pacific Islands and is on display in the Taro Field of the Great Lawn. Search for the Breadfruit tree, Tahitian Vanilla, the Screw Pine, Cacao tree, and more edible plants common in the South Pacific throughout the Gardens.

When in The Museum of Botany & The Arts, you will notice the window display featuring a Tahitian scene, but can you find the matching vintage Polynesian postcard in the Museum?


In the late nineteenth century, postcards were one of the first ways that Europe was exposed to the indigenous culture, vegetation, and scenes of Tahiti. In 1891, Gauguin made his own voyage to the island and discovered a vast colonial presence, not the untouched, primitive, or exotic islands as he had imagined. In the Museum, take a look at the vintage postcard reproductions on the hallway walls. The images show the progression of the culture and scenes found on the islands before a colonial influence was instilled, and then the development and change of that culture with European influences.

Can you name the most used plant in the exhibition? The Selby Gardens horticulture team used an abundance of Aroid plants from the Araceae family.

blankThe exhibition is known as an “Aroid show” by the Gardens’ horticulture team. Many of the plants in the exhibit, including Taro (Colocasia esculenta) and Coconut Trees (Cocos nucifera), are from the family Araceae. The brightly colored Anthurium and Spathiphyllum are also used in the exhibit to enhance the sense of Polynesia.

In addition, select hand-crafted Tahitian inspired items are for sale, with prices starting at $200.

If you are interested in taking home a piece of Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise, select, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted elements from the exhibit are available for purchase! Located throughout the Gardens, Tahitian inspired pieces such as tikis, dug-out canoes, tiki masks, and even a tiki hut, are available for purchase from the Garden Shop.

Visit Marie Selby Botanical Garden to experience Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise from now through June 30! Learn about related events and the exhibition itself here.