Nova Paul

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1973
Ngāpuhi, Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Te Māhurehure ki Whatitiri, Māori

Still Light

  • 2015
  • 16mm film transferred to digital video, colour, sound, duration 6 min 35 sec
  • Purchased 2020
  • 2020/039

Commissioned as a response to an untitled poem from the collection "Like Love Poems" by artist Joanna Margaret Paul, Nova Paul’s "Still Light" is a beautiful reflection on the domestic and intimate. Shot in 16mm film, the camera traces around objects and watches light shift across the surfaces, creating fluctuations in colour and flickering shadow. A fittingly tender soundtrack is provided by Nova's friend and sometime collaborator Bic Runga.

The room is close with mystery

this morning

heavy green folds of velvet curtain

are patterned with light

the sky breaks in panes of almost blue

& casts a white mirage upon the


mirror filled with things

the white dove-cote outhouse

received from another window

with its dark apertures

a mound of sunlit ivy

a light blue room

caught, held in the

round lid of some vessel

open on the dressing table.

Or so the room seems to be

heavy & punctuated with mystery

in the early stillness & I would

drift out & put on the room, the day

a close & heavy garment

for my pregnancy,

but the obdurate shape by my side

prevents my peaceful

mingling with the folded curtain & the light

the mirror the window the pale day…

Extract from an untitled poem, published in Joanna Margaret Paul, "Like Love Poems: Selected Poems" (edited by Bernadette Hall, Victoria University Press, 2006, pp.30–31).

Online Spheres, 2020

Watch the complete film

Exhibition History