Two years ago I held an exhibition at a small coffee shop/art Gallery in Shenzhen, China.It was my very first time and I did know nothing about exhibitions and how to best showcase your work. I really just did it to put some of my photos out there for friends to see and to recover from a tough time I had been through. My main concern wasn’t about how many people would actually like my work, I was actually more afraid of not being able to even spark interest in people and that I was very worried that eventually nobody would show up at the vernissage. But , in spite of the insecurities, I did it and for me it was huge. Not in terms of sales (this wasn’t my goal to begin with) but many people showed up that night and this was already a success for me. Also, it was the first time I worked on a theme for my photos and although the pictures in the show weren’t really coherent with the intention this exhibition marked the beginning of a project that I still hope to develop. You see I have always been fascinated by the concept of home. First, as a homebody myself, I have an insane passion for everything home, interiors, home life and so on and secondly this is a concept , an idea that has always permeated my whole life. So far in my life I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and live in several different countries. But at the same time, I don’t know if I would have been able to stand it if I hadn’t had the childhood I had, a stable upbringing in a safe place that gave me strong roots, a place I could always come back to. In my several homes away from home I have always tried to recreate that feeling of groundness. I would carry around objects, stuff that would remind me of my own home, my personal link to a place that has always been special to me and dear to my heart. My parents’ house. No place in this world has inspired me, nurtured me, welcomed me as much as this big house in a small town in the middle of nowhere, south of Italy. It is always been my haven.Whenever I felt that living outside had already started to change me, to dry my fertile imagination this is where I would come back to recharge and find myself again. This is the place I have always come back to every summer with my children to let them play in that same garden I played every summer of my childhood.But this year was different. Our home will become my brother’s home, a new home for him and his family and while I am delighted that my nephew and niece will get to run among those same walls, part of me could not stand the shock of the change and found hard to accept my kids will not be able to experience part of their life here just like I did. I had to mourn it somehow and at times felt very guilty about my emotions.Only to understand that there is nothing to feel guilty about, this is all part of a process and is all very normal.This is the place that for longtime has meant happiness to me. The place where I sat next to my mum during long winter nights watching old movies, the place where I stood so many times by the window looking at the fog wrapping the streets up in autumn, the place where I used to collect stones and leaves and play endlessly in the summer months. the place where I would inhale the smell of the rain after a thunderstorm. The place where I experienced all the the Christmas of my life and the excitement they would bring.The place where we all would gather to chat and laugh and tell each other stories over a cup of coffee,in the kitchen.This is the place that more than anywhere else embodied the deep contradiction of being so painfully attached to my roots while all the time longing for somewhere. The place where I would hide to read and where the dreams of travels and see the world that have shaped so much of my life , first took place.
One of the nightmares of my childhood was to come back to that very same house only to found out that it was abandoned, its mirrors shattered , its walls eaten up by wild weed. I still remember very vividly the anguish that this dream would cause me. Luckily and hopefully for us all, we won’t have to experience that. This house will be a house bustling with laughter and joy and above all, Life. Just like it should be. And as far as me, it’s about time to say good bye. Not because I won’t come anymore, after all in my heart this place will always stay mine and nobody can change that, just because it’s time to acknowledge that my home is indeed not a physical place, but rather a feeling. it’s where my family is, where my memories are, in a place that will be untouched and unspoiled by space or time or people.
Home is here, and there and everywhere in between.
How do you cope with change? where is your home?