The inauguration of the statue representing the historical gesture between Jacques Lafleur and Jean-Marie Tjibaou in the Place de la Paix in Noumea was an important moment for New Caledonians. An event with which OPT-NC wishes to associate itself by issuing on September 21, a stamp with a face value of 210 CFP francs representing the famous handshake.
A highly symbolic statue
The statue is the work of the artist Fred Fichet and its accomplishment required months of work. Erected in clay, then in plaster and finally in bronze, the 2.50 m high statue was cast in the Drome area of France, by the Barthelemy foundry. Its inauguration on June 26, Place des Cocotiers, gave rise to a great moment of sharing and of emotion, in memory of the gesture of peace accomplished by the two men, an event at which many Caledonians, both prominent as well as anonymous, attended.
This handshake marked the history of contemporary New Caledonia and symbolizes the return to peace after several years of confrontation between its communities. This courageous gesture committed New Caledonia to a process that continues today through the Matignon Accords and then the Noumea Accord. The statue, which numerous Caledonians come to admire every day, is installed in the centre of the Place de la Paix, "Koo Wè Joka" in the Vernacular Kanak nââ numèè language, the new name of what was previously known as Olry square.
An immortalized handshake
This issue is the work of the illustrator Franck Chan San. The artist is renowned for the meticulousness of his drawings and the originality of their realization, as evidenced by the latest exhibition of his works made with a ballpoint pen. The First-day envelope is illustrated with the design of the handshake, as for the stamp it focuses on the interlaced hands of Jacques Lafleur and Jean-Marie Tjibaou.