What does home mean to you? We often speak of ‘no place like home’ and ‘home is where the heart is’, without reflecting on the complexities of this term. What is home? Perhaps for you home is the house where you grew up or maybe the house you live in now? Who represents home? Is your idea of home attached to childhood, your family or special someone?
We asked this deceptively simple question to nine Haringey residents, many of whom are recent migrants or have long since made their home in this country. The definition of ‘home’ is particularly complex for migrant communities, for whom a sense of home has, out of necessity, been translocated from a place of origin to a more transient place of flux and being.
This project commemorated Refugee Week 2019 and has been developed in partnership with Consonant. We wish to thank Alessandro Filizzola and Mathilde Dupouy for their sensitivity and support throughout the project.Memories Across Borders is part of a series of work that celebrates the opening year of the East Court, inviting different communities to join us in making people feel welcome and at home.
Below is a selection of the works created.
Plant of Life by Esfandiar
Wood fences are very common in London gardens and there are some manufacturers in the north of London. Usually, wood panels have ‘natural’ patterns or paintings – texture or tissue or layers of wood or wood branches remaining when the wood is cut into pieces for the panels.
In my picture I was drawn to the way a green plant emerges from a hole between two wood panels. This reminds me of a small mulberry plant growing in the fracture of a rock outside my village in Zarafshan valley (north of Tajikistan) from when I was a young boy in the 1980s.
This small mulberry plant was not visible and accessible to everyone, but a few of my friends and I knew about it and used to water it when we took our sheep to pastures outside the village.
Elder people would not pay attention to this small tree as there were lots of very big mulberry trees in the village that were often used for sericulture or silkworm farming, which was widespread in our region and I almost grew up with it.
It is common for some plants and trees to grow in places like a fracture of a rock where survival is less likely, but still, they live and teach us how to live and survive.
My Family Place Of Entertainment by Mama B.
The Ice Rink at Alexandra Palace is an important place for my family because it is where my granddaughter used to celebrate her birthdays – skating on the ice from age three to fifteen.
I like the architecture of the entrance to the Ice Rink and the structure of the corridor leading to the doors.
The Picture Box by K H
Holding onto childhood memories and long-standing traditions has always been very important to me. I have so many memories of childhood that I hold dear to my heart, which I believe every child should get to experience because mine were so magical.
These memories play a huge part of my childhood and I have tried to recreate them. Here, I remember playing in the park with my friends, watching out for an old man, who would come to entertain us with a magical box.
He would always blow a trumpet to let us know when he was there. We jumped with joy and ran to our houses looking for coins to give to him so he would let us play with the magic box. This had a hole through the middle, which we could peep into and see pictures inside it. We never wanted to leave!
During the workshop at Alexandra Palace, I took a picture, which reminded me of this memory. Every time I look at it, I remember the old man and his picture box and feel a thrill of excitement and nostalgia.
Alexandra Palace is run by a charity for the benefit of everyone. It’s loved by many people: as a historic landmark, ice rink, legendary gig venue, exhibition centre, theatre, park with panoramic views and more. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic our income has fallen catastrophically and our survival is at risk. Your support can help: as a charity, every £1 we receive is reinvested back into the organisation and will help us get back on our feet.