The original title of the painting «Arearea no varua ino» can roughly be translated as “The fun of the evil spirit.” Arearea means fun, mischievous joke, entertainment, and varua ino – an evil spirit, the devil.
In the foreground, two women – sitting and reclining. Behind them the landscape is divided diagonally into two parts lying tree trunk. This composite element Gauguin often used. Behind the left is a statue of the goddess Hina, and the right – the blue mask. In the distance, on the right two people are fighting or dancing.
Accurate interpretation of the picture is not clear, but the main theme – it is a conflict between life represented the goddess Hina, and death, which symbolizes the mask. Two red fruit among women in the foreground may symbolize temptation. Women are faced with a choice, as a result of which they are waiting for either eternal life or death.
“Fun evil spirit” echoes the symbolism of the painting “Spirit of the Dead Watching» and the eponymous lithograph , as well as the painting “Near the Sea» , where Gauguin used a similar decorative elements.