Nova Paul

This is not Dying

This is not Dying by Nova Paul

Artwork Detail

E ai ki te ringa toi a Nova Paul, ko This is not Dying, 2010 ko te kiriata whakamātau he waiata aroha ki tōna whānau. I mahia te kiriata i Te Taitokerau, i Porotī – te marae o te ringa toi; ko tāna he hopu i ngā mahi a te whānau i a rātou e mahi ana i te mahi māori noa i te marae. He hora i te tēpu i te wharekai mō te hui whānau, he whakatika paihikara i te hēti, he kauhoe i te puna – koinei ngā mahi māori noa o te marae e maumaharatia ai, e kaingākautia ai. Ko tōna hoa haere he hopunga waiata mō Ben Tawhiti e whakatangi ana i te waiata ‘Whakarongo Mai’ i runga i te kutā retiringa. Puta mai, ngaro atu, ngā mātātuhi ngāwari noa mō ngā tāngata pērā i te ātārangi i te tohuwai kēhua rānei – kei konei, engari kāore i konei – i te kāmera e hāereere ai. He kārangaranga tēnei o te whakataukī Maori, Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua. I tēnei toi, ko tā Nova Paul he whakapono e kī nei, ahakoa ko te tangata te mea nui, ko tōna tauoranga he wā teretere noa iho.

Tae rawa atu te tangata ki tōna matenga, engari toitū kē te whenua. Ko te taitara – This is not Dying – he whakapuakitanga nā Paul mō te ahurea Māori, me tōna ahurea tuku iho he tikanga tūturu haere ake nei, haere ake nei. I runga i tērā āhuatanga, ko te taitara he whakapuakitanga whakatumatuma mō te tino rangatiratanga.

This is not Dying, 2010 is an experimental film by Nova Paul which she describes as a love song to her whānau (family). Filmed on the artist’s home marae (communal space) in Porotī, north of Auckland, it documents whānau members as they go about their everyday activities. From setting tables in the dining hall for a family gathering, to moments in a shed fixing bikes, to swimming in the local spring, the film typifies the activities of marae life that become memorable moments and create enduring impressions. It is accompanied by a nostalgic soundtrack offered by renowned Māori musician Ben Tawhiti, who plays ‘Whakarongo Mai’ on slide and steel guitar. Ethereal images of people move in and out of view like shadows or ghostly watermarks – at once present and absent – as the camera tracks across the land. This echoes the Māori proverb Whatungarongaro te tangata toitū te whenua — People are lost from sight but the land remains.

In this work Nova Paul references the Māori belief that people, while important, exist in a precious yet small moment in time. The lives of people will eventually give way to the nature of time but the land shall remain. The title – This is not Dying – is Paul’s statement about Māori culture and her cultural heritage as a practice and way of life which lives on. In this regard, the title is a defiant statement about tino rangatiratanga (Māori self-determination).

Title
This is not Dying
Artist/creator
Production date
2010
Medium
16mm negative print, stereo sound
Dimensions
19min 25sec
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2020
Accession no
2020/13
Other ID
X2020/81 Former Exhibition Number
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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