During the residency, Bridget Reweti intends to continue her long-term research on Ra’iatea navigator Tupaia. A leading arioi (high priest), skilled star navigator, and diplomat conversant in Māori, Tupaia joined Lieutenant James Cook’s first voyage across the Pacific in 1769, on board of the research vessel HMS Endeavour, and aided the navigation to Aotearoa New Zealand. Tupaia died, whilst en route to Britain, in Batavia (today’s Jakarta) in 1770 and was laid to rest in an unmarked grave on Pulau Damar Besar, an island off the coast of Java. Though relegated to a minor role in the Endeavour’s log books, Tupaia is remembered differently by Pacific communities. Still today, oral histories shared by fishers and voyagers across the ocean frame him as a highly influential figure. By accessing archival records and oral histories, Reweti will attempt to shed light on the reasons why Pulau Damar Besar was chosen as Tupaia’s final resting place.
3 July – 27 September 2019
“Bridget Reweti,” NTU CCA Singapore Digital Archive, accessed June 25, 2022, https://ntuccasingapore.omeka.net/items/show/1237.