The beautiful Heritage Hill
66 McCrae St, Dandenong
In Feb - March 2017 I received a residency from Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens, Dandenong. During this period I began the process of exploring the ideas of home, interviewing people about what home is to them, beginning my own creative work, and developing workshops and other residency programs.
This has now become an ongoing project that I will continue to return to and develop. I now also offer other artist in residency programs and programs which would be suitable for a variety of situations, such as schools, community centres, churches or other groups where this topic may be of interest.
You can continue to follow my work, including the home is project by subscribing to my email list, or following any of these social media profiles. I have set up a flickr album where I have and will continue to put up images of the work relating to this project.
Aims, thoughts, ideas of what I hope will come out of this project:
The idea and the actuality of what 'home is' is really important. Our world is unfortunately filled with people who have been forced to leave their homes, have had their homes destroyed, have unsafe homes, or choose to leave their homes in search of a different life. It is also, fortunately, filled with a variety of homes, different ideas of what is normal, of who lives in the home and how we behave in the home. And this doesn't even begin to touch on how the animal kingdom lives! All of this provides many different aspects to explore and a variety of creative inlets which I hope to explore.
But I loved that dolls house. Both times.
A couple of years later I gave the dollhouse to a young mum I knew with a 2 year old because it seemed wrong to keep it packed away in the garage - it was meant to be played with. By then I’d moved out and had nowhere to keep it myself anyway.
Both the love of making things and this interest in the concept of home - however abstract - has stayed with me. Over the past few years the love of making things has begun to develop into a visual arts practice. But the concept of home has stayed quite abstract - I wished I'd photographed every front door of every house I've lived in (13) but I haven't, I've played around with the concept with some individual pieces in the past year or so but they haven’t developed any further and I hadn't really found a way in to the topic. It wasn't until last year when my own home life was extremely disrupted and I suddenly lost the home I thought I had that the pieces for a project began to fall into place and I felt it was a topic I was ready to explore in depth.
The House that Popa build.
Why Home is...?
When I was a kid I loved to make things. As I grew older and was at school, I began to make less and less. In high school I moved schools to be able to study drama but I hadn’t continued with any visual arts studies after the compulsory subjects. Mid teens, I re-discovered the dolls house my grandfather build for me when I was 3 stored away in the shed. It was a wonderful dolls house which I had loved playing with. For some reason, I decided to renovate it - I'm not really sure what prompted it. At the time I only thought I was creative in drama (which I studied in VCE). This dolls house thing was just something I did because I wanted to - I wasn't even sure why I wanted to. And it was beautiful - I re-did the walls and furniture, painted plants on the outside and gave it a new lease on life. It happened to come up in a conversation with the art teacher while at school one day and she said I should do VCE art with a similar project but at the time I wasn't sure - it didn't seem like art to me at the time.
Living in Australia, to the family I was born into and the opportunities this has afforded me, I have been lucky enough to be able to take the concept of home for granted. But then in 2016 my own home life disintegrated and it really highlighted how fragile home is - even for me, in what I thought was a stable home situation - and how much more fragile it is for others who are not fortunate enough to have the family support I have. The issues surrounding a safe and stable home life, and how for many this is not a reality, is something that I have begun pursuing more intentionally. The issues surrounding home are vast, multifaceted, complicated but also quite simple - we all need a home.