Homeland / Exile explores the negation of culture through language as a condition of dispossession. Taking a circular journey from destruction of homelands to the establishment of refugee camps and the possibility of resolution amongst the flames.
The collection of works in Homeland / Exile were developed over a 8 year period. I was inspired to create this series after my trip to Iran in 2002. This was an intense trip both in terms of re-connecting to my beloveds as an adult and this was the era of post- 9/11. I had traveled to Europe on my own for 3 months in early 2001 and less than 12 months later the tensions around national security and vamping up of airport security was palpable.
This journey to the motherland was deeply concerned which finding my roots. Returning to my place of origin was an emotional experience and the fact that I had no literacy in Farsi and very limited spoken language really impacted my sense of self. My family are highly educated people in Iran, they are doctors, engineers, poets, artists, teachers, writers, storytellers and the fact that I couldn’t express myself as deeply as I would have liked really impressed on me the ‘loss’ of identity. My childhood in Australia was about assimilation and my parents never pressured us to go to Saturday school to learn Farsi. The path of least resistance was the philosophy and it was only in my twenties that the realisation of what was lost hit me.
I returned from this trip determined to learn the Persian alphabet and numerals and gain some literacy in my mother tongue. Thus began this epic body of work. Social justice events around that time also deeply influenced me. I participated in the protest against the war in Iraq (No Blood for Oil), I was drawn to a major retrospective of John Pilger’s investigative journalism at the MCA, I watched a series of documentaries on SBS called Promises about the dispossession of Palestinian homes and considered the destruction of my own grandfather’s home and of which weaved a rich tapestry of motifs in my work.
This series of work is my largest by far and the feelings around this work still echo in my recent explorations. The works include drawings, painting, assemblages, digital photographs /film stills and a sound installation.