• Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Kauri Hawkins, Jonathan Jones, Michael Parekowhai

Place is thicker and more concrete than mere location, and story helps makes it concrete. –Val Plumwood

Ecofeminist philosopher Val Plumwood in her essay Shadow Places and the Politics of Dwelling laid out her critique of the Western concept of place and the ways in which it narrows our ability to achieve our environmental aims. She argued that we need to consider ‘shadow places’, or spaces that have been perceived as unimportant, ugly or ignored. In understanding the places that do not enjoy our admiration we can begin to appreciate the ‘complex network of places that supports our lives’.[1]

We do not simply live in a house – we live in a community, a country, an earth, a universe, and our connections are not simply physical, but emotional, spiritual and intellectual. The artists in Light Dwells use the light, and its corollary darkness, to reveal to us a complex understanding of place. As a metaphor light is often used to signal truth, goodness and purity, with darkness indicating danger, ignorance and evil. But there is no light without darkness, and there are lessons to be learned in both.

Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh, Kauri Hawkins, Jonathan Jones and Michael Parekowhai use indigenous knowledge, architecture, shifting boarders, community, colonialism and light to inform and shape their work. They ask us to consider the physical, emotional and spiritual bonds that we have to the earth and each other. Light Dwells examines the ways in which our sense of place can and should shift, grow, and adapt as we do.

–Sarah McClintock | Suter Curator

[1] Val Plumwood, ‘Shadow Places and the Politics of Dwelling’, Ecological Humanities, Issue 44, March 2008,, accessed 4 May 2021.

Opening Hours

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  • 208 Bridge Street
  • Whakatū Nelson