Home in Mind

Home in mind brought together the work of barbaresi & round with Junie James as a response to memories and histories of the home. James considered this theme in the context of the Caribbean migrant experience. barbaresi & round will explored how DIY situations, mess, or unresolved physical forms in our home spaces relate to the flux, trauma and intimacy of family life. They reflected on family history and the role of the home as a site for a multiplicity of superimposed emotions.

Round’s father was a competent DIY electrician, building his own television and radios as a hobby. Around her family home there were numerous improvised electrical set ups. Round has made soft sculptures, from old sheets based on these.
This is part of a series of assemblages which combine heavy building materials with fabric and wadding.  Working with familiar domestic materials and forms Barbaresi has created interplays between heavy and light materials, hard and soft, creating sculptures whose form emerges through a combination of moulding and resistance. This found vocabulary becomes a language for the undercurrents of family life and relationships, including notions of comfort, discomfort, pressures and conformity, expression and inhibition within home, family, and wider society. 
Barbaresi & round share childhood memories of their mothers making clothes for the family. They have worked with sewing patterns from that time using 2nd hand fabric. The installation speaks of the relation of sewing patterns to bodily shapes and scale. This work also relates to the scale of the home, built to service the needs and scale of habitation. There is a shared interest in Painting. The process of installing the pieces and arranging them in groups felt like the process of building a painting.
It also refers to domestic practices of thrift and ‘make do’, 70s era craft and its role in family and the home. 
Through James’ installation she reflects on the memory of the home from the perspective of the Caribbean migrant experience. As Peckham is a place where people from the Windrush generation initially settled, and in many cases still live alongside more recent generations, it’s possible that Safehouse 1 was lived in by people from the Caribbean making their home here. Working with this iteration of her living room in Safehouse, James is thinking of the novel ‘Small Island’ by Andrea Levy and the experience of the character Hortense as she moves into a dilapidated rented house with a small baby and begins the process of making it home.  
The cabinet reflects a sense of achievement and arrival, containing luxury items that the family can now afford. These items were used on special occasions by invited guests. Social gatherings were important with drinks such as rum being offered. There were no legally sanctioned bars from public spaces, however the hostile environment of post-war Britain made pubs uncomfortable places to socialise. People found their own entertainment through house parties and gatherings.