“Postcards from Home”- a series of small woven tapestries that explore the notion of ‘home’ to an artist born in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and transplanted to Australia at the age of 11.
Why is it that our earliest influences remain so potent in our lives? Everything that touches our senses as young children remains an indelible part of us, whether we choose to put it to one side during our evolution into adulthood or not.
Every time I return to the country of my birth my senses are awakened to that familiarity, no longer foreign but an essential part of my being. I smell the ripe pungence of the air on arrival. The warmth envelops me in its stifling embrace. I hear the accents that surround me and I slip into the sing song easily, tailoring my own speech patterns to identify with them. The tastes have never left me – in 55 years my own culinary practice pays homage to the spices and techniques that bind me to this island. And above all, all that I see is imprinted on my psyche as I hungrily seek out the visual treasure that informs my art practice. And so where is ‘home’ really? Those of us who have lived our lives separated from our birthplace dwell in limbo, longing to belong. I can feel Australian in many aspects of my life but not completely. I was planted in a different soil, grew and reached for the sun in a different climate, absorbed the culture and manners of a different society as I grew. It will always be part of me, and yet is lost to me as the country I knew as a child has evolved into something other.
Home is what you imagine it to be, make it to be. My hands shape it into existence through the one constant that cannot be changed, the natural environment that speaks to the heart.