Home and nostalgia
Updated: Jul 1, 2022
The sense of displacement caused by Brexit and the isolation from Europe caused by the lockdown periods has led many of our participants to interrogate themselves on the meaning of “home” leaving many of them very ambivalent about where “home” might be. In some of the artworks produced, houses or specific rooms are pictured, sometimes to signify a sense of entrapment (due to lockdown), many times to hint at the nostalgia they feel for their original home that has never before seemed so far away. Sometimes the home is depicted as unreachable, perched on mountains that cannot be climbed or situated far away across deep, dangerous waters that can no longer be crossed.
In this picture, Pierre conveys a sense of entrapment, the feeling of being tied to the house, which is always there, but has been sharpened by the lockdown rules. Significantly on the right wall he writes: home sweet jailhome and elaborates yeah just this whole feeling that we’re tied to our houses and this kind of usual ties that you have in life that are meaningless, but we just seem to hang onto it because that’s all we have like having a house. Being, walking just by your house, most conventional way of life. So I think there was a bit of an idea behind that we don’t have the freedom and you kind of the whole lockdown issue, probably made me think more about this. And in relation to being at home, he adds: for me it was the coin’s got two sides, the person’s got an angry face but the back of their face is actually a smile. You know this contrast, there’s always two sides of everything and that’s is how I felt all through lockdown… I was happy to be at home then also wasn’t. I was happy not to be at work and not to see people but I wasn’t.
This drawing also speaks of being at home during lockdown. The participant Lili explains mug is for me, is the home, is the comfort, yeah it’s a homeliness but at this point you just getting tired of always being at home … it comes to a point when you’re just going around in circles…and then elaborating on the drawing, she adds: a quick drawing and …there’s not much joy in this drawing. It doesn’t express any… It’s quite a bleak drawing. I would say it’s quite a bleak feeling that it expresses…. so I tried to draw here a body and not a face, just a body that represents how my thoughts going around and because they don’t have an outlet, another person to have them on, you know, they became something that just goes… [sigh] goes around in circles… that’s what the elongated body is and this whole knotted up, tangled up stick….it didn’t need a face it was… urm… yeah… It was just this… urm… Something that didn’t yield any product, that kind of thought process but just urm a bit of urm… [sigh] Going around, becoming a bit compulsive, becoming a bit unproductive
In this picture, the dwelling in Edinburgh is a cage, a cage that is full of tears. Ilma describes: that’s a cage, like trapped in a cage and it’s kind of, well, a golden cage because comparing to others we were in a very good situation like we could be at home with our kid but at the same time you feel like you are trapped and it’s not the best situation because we can’t do anything and no ones around and yeah… Golden cage. The water at the bottom are tears: there were lots of those….and the rubber duck [says that] you still have to play and do things (with little son) even if you don’t feel like having fun
The picture represents a village in Ulli’s home country of Germany. During the interview she describes it: It’s a very cute little village but right next to this is an old monastery with an old chapel, that’s where we got married so it is very picturesque. The river there, that river is very close to my parents’ house so when I was little that’s where I walked, well not quite every day …. The kids swim there in the summer so yeah again it’s a sort of place with a lot of meaning.
The theme of home is clearly present also in this picture, but with a definite note of positivity attached to it. The author of the collage, Lisa says: is my house so that’s you know a home. A house slash home because of course during lockdown we were locked in basically in my very small apartment in….but also it felt quite protected because my partner was at home…. it was lots of family time, lots of love because we felt like we re-connected and we decided that if times were changing that was maybe a good time to have a second child then I got pregnant. However, on the right side of the picture, her other ‘home’, Italy is represented as a big tear trickling down a worried face in Lisa’s thoughts.