Next year is my 30th high school reunion and this milestone has got me thinking. Actually, what I initially thought was " not a f%$& am I THAT old!" and hyperventilated into my glass of wine, but thats an aside. I thought about the significance of this event some more and my overriding emotion was one of great excitement to see these women again (some I have not seen since that final day) and almost paralysing nostalgia.
I have been working the idea around my brain for a while, much like a sliver of popcorn kernel wedged in a gum, unable to remove it without some investigation and a tool......and the tool I am using is my phone and specifically, the way
I have been taking photos recently.
For those of you who need some backstory, I grew up in South Africa. I went to school in a town called Stellenbosch , at a school called Rhenish, for the whole 10 years from standard 1 till 10. I knew those girls well! Then, in my early 30's, I emigrated to New Zealand. Opposite side of the planet, same hemisphere. I am at home here and at home there. i always feel like I am coming home, either way I travel, and that is sometimes great and at the same time, totally divisive. Sometimes I feel I belong both places, sometimes I yearn for one over the other and sometimes, I belong nowhere.
This feeling of belonging in two places which look and behave quite differently is hard to explain and so I have decided to do so with paint. Somehow, I am going to stitch these two homes together and make something totally amazing for myself, a place I create and is therefore mine forever. I am incorporating this into my next exhibition and, hopefully, will take work back to South Africa next May to show my old schoolfriends what I experience and how I have reconciled the experience of immigration with nostalgic longing for what is past.
To that mind, I am returning to home(Ha! see?!?) to reference very specific images that I want to use in this process. I am going to visit the places( oh yes! I have a list!) that are most evocative for me and do some sketching, photography and lots of writing. Then I am going to come home ( again! See? It's difficult and awesome at the same time) and , because I have already started the process here, start the process of stitching these two worlds together on canvas.
So, I have cooked the family MANY meals, the freezer is full, the list of daily tasks is pasted everywhere( feed pets, defrost dinner, get post, brush teeth..not in that order, but you get the gist), air tickets, insurance etc booked and I am almost on my way. My only problem is my gear. Whilst I have travelled locally with all my crap, international travel is different and I am taking 3 planes there and that means SIX different baggage handlers will have the opportunity to take their frustrations out on my bag ....and that's just the journey there! I have ordered some stuff there so I don't have to carry too much but I am going to have to make some plans and be inventive. I am working on drafting film whilst I am there and using Liquin to speed the drying up time. Rolled up with wax paper between them, the sketches should make it home (! again!) and I will always have some photos to reference too.
So, back in 3 weeks time, swamped in nostalgia and hopefully brimming with good material.
110cm x 60 cm