This period of quiet and distancing has provided many of us with the welcomed space for reflection and an opportunity to literally ‘slow down’. Recently we’ve been thinking about ideas of ‘home’ (what it is and where it is) because, well, we are currently spending more time at home. This may sound a bit prosaic, although perhaps its implications are more profound than we might initially think?
As you know, we are based at the reassuringly named HOME arts centre in Manchester. Like all other cultural spaces at the moment, our mothership is sadly closed and she needs all our help to stay healthy and resilient during this strange and uncertain time. Take a look at the HOME Response Fund webpage and please pledge your support if possible.
From thoughts of ‘home’ our minds have naturally wandered towards a consideration of ‘ecology’ – our place in the world and the relationships we share with everything else – the patterns that connect. For example, did you know that the origin of the word ecology – it’s prefix ‘eco’ – derives from the ancient Greek word oikos, which means home or household? Fascinating, isn’t it? If this particular field interests you then we recommend exploring the books made by our eco–art publisher friend, Gaia Project. Their seminal, bestselling critical anthology, Elemental: an arts and ecology reader is still available in a very limited quantity.
We have searched our vast collection of publications for titles which in some way explore more explicit notions of the domestic and homeliness…
Influential artists such as Rachel Whiteread with her Turner Prize-winning House (Artangel), and Thomas Schutte with Houses (VfMK), both work with the actual architecture of the built home in very different ways.
If it’s a feminist-orientated perspective you’re interested in, then look no further than the group of esteemed women artists in ROOM (Sadie Coles HQ), and the subversive collages of Punk art queen, Linder (Ridinghouse).
With thoughts around immigration, migration and diaspora approached through the mediums of photography and film, the eight artists of Close to Home (British Council), and Mahtab Hussain’s Going Back Home To Where I Came From (Ikon Gallery) certainly present unique perspectives on feelings of cultural identity and belonging.
What happens when artists stay at home to make art about where they live? Well, this way of working is nicely embodied by John Wonnacott with The Estuary (Focal Point Gallery), and Dominic from Luton (Sunridge Avenue Projects) with his rather cosy suburban art endeavour, Sunridge Avenue.
Wherever you are, wherever you live, we hope you are keeping safe and well. Take care…
Image credit: the front of the house on Sunridge Avenue as featured in the book, Dominic from Luton (published by Sunridge Avenue Projects, 2017)