Small objects as a transmitter of telling stories of belonging and migration

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My parents migrated to Australia in the late 50 s, my father and his family from The Netherlands and my mother and her family from Finland. Once here they recreated their interiors to feel like they were in their homelands. I grew up in these spaces and have inherited some of the objects that adorned them. The experience of these interiors contribute to this essay as a reflection on domestic spaces and the collection of objects within them. I respond to these objects through my art practice and surround myself with them at home because they feel like they are part of me and have helped me construct my identity as a first-generation Australian.

The small objects I have collected and the stories attached to them are central to my art practice and part of my daily life. A mixture of functional and non-functional items; precious in terms of memories, they are keepsakes, souvenirs, some are whole and some just fragments. My interest is not in valuable or rare collections, the art of collecting or museological practices, but rather, creating personal memory museums that deal with the migrant experience. The objects I selected were all diminutive, often no larger than the palm of an adult’s hand because I wanted to explore the intimacy inherent in small objects. The processes and applications used in the painting and textile works, capture and amplify the significance of everyday objects in the construction of identity. Material exploration, painting, drawing and textile practices allow insightful discoveries into experiences related to migration, and narratives of belonging. To place these in a critical context, I draw upon the writing of Svetlana Boym on migrants and their connections to objects and on Susan Stewart and Gaston Bachelard on souvenirs and miniatures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInteriors: Design, Architecture, Culture
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2019


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