Search This Blog

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Artist's review of TUPAIA

Review from acclaimed artist David Stones

It is always a huge delight to get an unexpected review from a reader, and this one had the bonus of being from a well regarded artist.  David has a hideaway studio in the backwoods of beautiful Nelson, in the sunny top lefthand corner of the South Island of New Zealand.  You can see a gallery of his work on his website.

David very kindly gave me permission to publish his letter.

Hello Joan

I have enjoyed reading 'Tupaia' so much I felt I must contact you and thank you for the experience. It is a most beautiful book to look at and feel. Saskia Nicol's design is extraordinarily beautiful-the book feels nice to hold. The typeface is perfection, the shape of the page is lovely. The illustrations compliment the story but also have a beauty of their own. The cover is one of the best I have seen anywhere.

Quite apart from the professionally and sensitively produced publication, you have created a thoroughly researched and deeply considered work on Tupaia and his interaction to and impact on the professional sailors and 'enlightenment' research 'team' of the Endeavour. Perhaps it is the impression of Tupaia on the New Zealand Maori of 1769 that is so interesting. Tupaia's mana and knowledge seemed to have lasting consequences on all who met him and heard what he had to say.

Do you think the history of the Pacific could have been somewhat different, if the 'Endeavourists' had realised the quality of the man, on board, in Tupaia?

Congratulations Joan on this most professional work, also Random House and your whole team.

Kia kaha

In answer to David's question, I think Tupaia's genius was too easily dismissed back then, just as it has been since.  If he had survived the Endeavour voyage and gone on to the Resolution with Cook, the history of European/Polynesian contact would have been different, and the life of James Cook could very possibly have been saved.
And thank you, David, for writing.

No comments: