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Home Is Where the Heart Is

Thanks to the support of the Arts Council of Ireland I have been able to create an experimental picture book based on the theme 'HOME'. The 'book' consists of 5 pop-up illustrated birdhouses or nesting boxes. The idea of 'home' is universal, but these works are rooted in the personal.

The word "Home" conjures thoughts of comfort and familiarity. To me, it means family, all together in one safe, warm place. However, when I first came to Ireland, 'home' was everything I had left behind – not just family and possessions, but security as well. With the perspective of being an outsider (an immigrant) I have now established my home in Ireland, but I still empathize with the refugees, the immigrants, and the transient who do not have the comfort of a home.

What of the impermanence of a home? What of the precariousness? What of the changing of homes – through choice or necessity? The birdhouse shape relates to the ideas of migration, duality of belonging, and the possibly ephemeral nature of home. Though these are hard-edged themes, I present them in a poignant and sensitive way that is suitable for the child reader/viewer.

Being an illustrator, I wanted to express the narratives of 'home' in my next picture book, but I wanted to create this work in an experimental, 3D format, and I was inspired by Sara Fanelli's work “The Onion's Great Escape” where the work also provides another medium for the reader to explore: form. To be able to digest a story through words, images and shape is an enjoyable challenge. The illustrations are intertwined with the text, and culminate in the proverb, “Home is where the heart is” to leave the reader/viewer with a positive sense of hopefulness.

Each birdhouse is an 'in the round' piece, using the rooftops, undersides and interiors as part of the storytelling. Because the resulting work is sculptural in nature, display will have to be considered, and it is my hope to hang the work in a gallery setting but from tree branches.

I'll be finishing and constructing the birdhouses next - completing the details in time for them to be shown in the Autumn. Stay tuned and I'll post the dates and galleries!

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