June 9

This week, go on an adventure with Thor Heyerdahl in one of the two films, an award-winning documentary, or dramatized accounting of the adventurer’s journey across the Pacific Ocean.

Kon-Tiki (1950) Academy-award winning documentary film of an astonishing adventure, a journey spanning 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. “Kon-Tiki” was the name of a wooden raft used by six Scandinavian scientists, led by Thor Heyerdahl, to make a 101-day journey from South America to the Polynesian Islands. The purpose of the expedition was to prove Heyerdal’s theory that the Polynesian Islands were populated from the east- specifically Peru- rather than from the west (Asia) as had been the theory for hundreds of years.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx20hi374as

VBMA Film Studies Coordinator, Diane Thelen

Stream free with Amazon Prime or rent on Apple tv

Kon-Tiki (2012) Drama. English subtitles. Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl suspects that the South Sea Islands were originally colonized by South Americans. In 1947 despite his fear of water and inability to swim, Heyerdahl decides to prove his theory. He and five companions set sail from Peru on a balsa-wood raft built from an ancient design. Their only modern equipment is a radio, and they must navigate using the stars and ocean currents. After three exhausting months at sea, they achieve their goal.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUnmjQJHRP4


Image credit: Hiram D. Williams. Swimming Gator, 1994. Acrylic, oil and shellac on canvas

Thor Heyerdahl encountered many sea creatures on his journey, and we inevitably thought of one of Florida’s most notorious aquatic residents, the alligator. Hiram D. Williams’ Swimming Gator (1994) captures the rippling surface of the water with swirling blue paint layered over splotches of olive green, which hint at the stealthy glide of the gator beneath. Are there other artworks in the VBMA collection that came to mind as you viewed the escapades of Thor Heyderdahl?

Give us your thoughts on the film and any connections you made to the VBMA collections on social media.