“Oh the tension!”
“Friday nights we’d say ssshh, Dad’s coming home!”
This was spoken by my 90 year old aunt when I asked permission to tell our family story of the legacy of war. She was transported back.
We children couldn’t understand of course.
Home Sweet Home pays tribute to the generations of women and children affected by the legacy of war. It aims to raise awareness worldwide. As the daughter and grand-daughter of veterans, war had a traumatic impact on our family. This has occurred in many family homes and is now being acknowledged. Yet, many families are still unaware; veterans bring the war home.
Many have contributed to the work over the six years I’ve been creating Home Sweet Home. I create unique artist books of linen with embroidery and personal stories. Histories, mementos and photos tell of the toll of war on families. I’ve also created a DVD and film of people sharing their experiences, old and young. HSH has been exhibited in galleries, community centres, churches, schools and veterans organisations.
In August 2018 I am taking Home Sweet Home to Japan, England, Paris, Berlin and Vancouver, continuing the primary aim of raising awareness of generational trauma.
This will take many forms, for example in Japan I’ll be taking cranes made with my local primary school to the Hiroshima Peace Park. I’m touring HSH to share and connect with other cultures from an Australian perspective with the intent of contributing to the international healing process. In England I will be exhibiting the memorial in Oxford, then Paris, Berlin and Vancouver. In conjunction with these I will be speaking about these stories and the catharsis experienced as they’ve related their histories, reframed in the light of the effects of war.
I have been shocked by the numbers of people who have suffered similarly to my family. As the years progressed I have come to understand everyone is affected, one way or another. Many were unaware of the cause of their dis-ease and the process of participating in HSH has been cathartic. They understand for the first time what has occurred in their families. There is no blame.
War is a global phenomenon. By creating and exhibiting HSH I aim to share these experiences worldwide, creating common ground. Awareness is then raised, as is understanding of the cross cultural, generational, effects of war on society. Through the safe excavating of memories and the sharing of experiences people can find kinship. We are not alone, although our suffering may lead us to believe we are.
Raising awareness and understanding is paramount. War is universal. HSH stories include the Frontier Wars, the Boer war and the English concentration camps, WW1 and 11, the children of Germans soldiers and Malaysians who as children lived through the Japanese occupation, Holocaust survivors, the Dutch Hunger and the Irish ‘Troubles’. Still to be written is a story of a Ugandan family who fled Idi Amin’s dictatorship, Nagasaki and Hiroshima survivors and that of a Somali refugee family.
To now HSH has entirely been self funded. These funds are needed for internal travel between cities and countries, food and accomodation.