I gather the tips of my hair in my hand, arrange them so they form a straight edge, and stroke the strands with my index finger. I pull the bundle of hair up to my nose and inhale. It softly tickles my lips, cheeks, and eyelids as I drag the hair across my face. I perform this simultaneously conscious and subconscious ritual again and again, providing myself with comfort, quiet, the memory of my mother’s body, and a sense of safety. I make myself feel 'at Home.'
By the age of eighteen, I had moved eight times and lived in nine houses in six different states throughout the U.S.This nomadic upbringing had a profound impact on me, and has been a source of artistic inspiration for over a decade. During my childhood, I came to view my body - particularly my hair - as a surrogate 'Home.' Unlike the cities and houses through which I moved, my hair was always with me no matter where I found myself on the map, and this provided me with a much-needed sense of stability and comfort. Over time, this awareness of my body's consistent materiality replaced the physical, geographical Home that I was missing - for me, Home became where the hair is.
Using my hair as the primary medium in my work, I reflect on the objects found in domestic spaces, the physical environments in which we dwell, and the human body in an attempt to understand how materiality interacts with the psyche to create a sense of Home. While affirming the crucial importance of materiality in this process, my work also acknowledges the inherent temporality of the physical world, as well as the ever-shifting cultural notions of what Home means. In this way, my art explores both the necessity and the futility of the uniquely human need to cultivate a sense of Home. It asks what Home means to us culturally, emotionally, and physically in our individual lives as well as the collective life of our communities.
(Image: Circles (Egg), human hair and paper, 10" x 8", 2006)