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Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author Department/Program

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Abstract

I write and make art from my distinct point of view—which is, that there is no place like home. Because home is a notion tied so deeply to the idea of belonging, to not belong means to be home-less. Since belonging is tethered to inclusion, the multiple exclusions of those who have been marginalized because of identity can lead to life trajectories where, in fact, there is no home.

My work centers on the ideas of belonging, home and hybrid identities. It is through the specificity of my own experience, that I explore the ways that a multifaceted identity, in conjunction with an outlook found in the idea of existential migration, allows for me to access to diverse worlds and experiences. Dual (or multiple) belongings may feel contradictory, as to be divided in the union of two disparate identifications can lead to a feeling of never quite belonging to either. In this position, rejecting belonging altogether may be a solution. Through storytelling, this document, and the work it was born from, makes the claim that those who have experienced the pain of not belonging have a duty to notice and react against situations where others are persecuted or excluded. In fact, a history of un-belonging firmly places one in a discerning position to detect instances and spaces of un-belonging.

A search for home and a place of belonging can extend to any of us. In my work, I use narrative and art as a tool to prise apart and expose small fissures in social interactions that can weaken their foundations and eventually destroy them. In the space left after the rubble, I propose that we build anew, together.

Language

English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Committee Member

Zlatko Ćosić

Committee Member

Zlatko Ćosić

Committee Member

Ila Nicole Sheren, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jessica Baran

Artist's Statement

My work centers around the ideas of belonging, home and hybrid identities. Through the specificity of my own experience, I explore the ways that multifaceted identities allow for access to diverse worlds and experiences. This includes the many aspects that can be chosen, as well as the ones we inherit. Some characteristics develop throughout our lives, and at times, we are able to shape ourselves according to our values and desires. On the other hand, individual circumstances may not always provide us with the agency to do so. I am interested in the intersection of these influences and of the psychological, sociological, and anthropological dimensions of identity construction.

“Global citizenship” marks our time as people migrate and mingle, making lives in places far from home. In some cases, even the notion of “home” itself has become abstract as more people embrace nomadic lives. My work, on a broad scale, comes from this place of nomadism. I explore the context and conditions specific to a location, which I view through the lens of being simultaneously a visitor and resident, outsider and insider. Recently, this has resulted in works that reflect the deep wound at the heart of this country, where the dominant culture routinely reaffirms the dichotomy of “us” and “them,” which leads to a painful condition of un-belonging for any who do not “fit.”

Explorations of these ideas take form in a variety of ways, from sculptures and artist’s books to video installations and public interventions; each idea calls for a medium suited to it, and I follow, learning new skills if necessary to make each vision a reality. A hand-crafted aesthetic is fully embraced to reflect the unpolished nature of daily life, and to uphold the humane traits and values of the hand.

Environmental (both ecological and social) concerns inform these explorations and have led me to focus on systems that are deeply in need of mending. These involve issues of belonging and ownership, safety and perception, as well as the effect of place on lived experience.

How do our individual encounters and curiosities in the acts of everyday life affect our perception of the past, present and future? How do our histories define us? What is the role of memory and conjecture, and what actions do we take to refine, manipulate, or assert our own identities?

Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7W0943Q

Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2115

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