HOME AND DISPLACEMENT WITHIN THE GALLERY SPACE

Since memory can tell, there has been a desperate urge to explore the concept of land, that being home or displacement, both tying into the idea of identity or multiple identities.

It is well known that home is used as a spatial metaphor for a sense of belonging, safety and comfort, as in feeling-at-home. Home has become more complicated in recent years due to displacement, and simply with those that have grown up in different areas and countries, or question the idea of “nation”. There are various routes to how one begins to question their home and identity, as one grows more conscious of it, it begins to become a constant reminder of unsettlement and an internal shift. An increase of hesitance answering the question “Where are you from?” is becoming more common, a passport may differ to where you feel you are from, or vice versa. A second question is usually followed by the first, “But where are you really from”, another phrase that only makes you question home and identity. To a lot of people it feels like someone is pointing out their “otherness” and that identity is fixed and tied to a specific place, which in turn begins erasing identities which could define ones everyday lived realities. This then drives the beginning of questioning where is home?

A displaced person has a new range of questions they must answer and ask themselves, about time, memory, home and identity along other enquires like why and when. When more people have been involuntary displaced in the twentieth century than in any other recorded history, the profound psychological, cultural and sociological effects on people become a way of living, a state of mind and these notions manifest in various ways. This desperate urge to speak out, to build and highlight has turned into the form of various outputs within art.

Home and displacement are two themes widely worked on by artists of different backgrounds. Many of the artists responses to why they explore such themes is that art allows them an output of their thoughts, as well as a way in which they can communicate and encourage understanding of the issues surrounding the themes of home and displacement. It acts as an investigative tool, a story telling process, an act of evidence, recording and reframing.

Artists have often created an impression of familiarity and otherness in their work, using found objects and what we usually see as mundane into something of value and significance. Experience of loss, memory and time are often dealt with within artworks dealing with displacement. The sense of temporality is distorted, that of the gallery space time limit and that of one who has been displaced. We will often find artists deliberately react to this through their choice of time consuming handmade process, where the materials need time to be created, constructed or painted. Objects of the everyday are also used a great deal, the easily overlooked objects we use everyday and the found objects that serve as signifiers for reality and proof of the conditions one may have faced. It often that those who are displaced are scrutinized about their stories and situations not believed and criminalized. The use of recording verbal stories and sounds are used as “facts” and proof of the displacement that has occurred, it acts as evidence to the life once lived, to the story once lived and to the current situation in the present. The use of video and sound is increasingly used to almost act as evidence for the displacement that has occurred, where someone talks about their experience, their memories or the sounds of the area that once surrounded them. This act of recording allows the artist

The use of these techniques have enabled artists to frame inform and enable the conversations that audiences and society have about cultural difference.

The histories of museums and galleries is of narrow and privileged audiences, galleries are perhaps unlikely vehicles for social inclusion. The gallery space itself can be quite exclusive in which certain gallery spaces can feel like “home” while in other galleries one may feel alienated. The same artists including visitors who are often excluded from gallery spaces are now entering those spaces, creating in those spaces and gaining voices. Galleries have sought to become more closely stitched into the lives of communities; they have become exposed to the needs of an audience. As the gallery it self is inherently exclusive to those who are most likely questioning their home and have gone through displacement, the artworks within the gallery space serve as agents of defiance and expression. The use of familiarity within artworks, allows for those in similar positions or with similar stories feel connected whether that be through physical touch, viewing, or listening. Access is now more broadly understood to encompass the removal of not only physical, but also intellectual, emotional, financial and cultural barriers in the galley space. Art in many ways invites the viewer to engage with these narratives, these messages and questions. The range of creative approaches and responses are as diverse as the people and the stories being told, therefore it seeks to show how art can support, unite and break boundaries, it offers an alternative viewpoint in which one hopes it allows for understanding. The artist can serve as an agent in the Identity process of society.

The exploration of home and displacement ultimately allows for discussion on sensitive and intriguing issues, it also instinctively enquires about the gallery space it self-being a temporary home for the Artworks, where then the artwork again will soon be displaced

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