What Makes a Home?
This question is fraught with complexity today: during an era when families as social institutions are reconfigured and reconstituted, when various conditions of precariousness render any state of structural stability a dream for most.
The female homemaker in such changing times is celebrated anew in this exhibition of intermedia works and installations by Pamela Yan Santos. Drawing from her experiences and memoies as a mother, artist, wife, and woman, she reconfigures the interior spaces and objects of home to reflect on how seemingly personal circumstances form intensely, immensely common ground with others. It may feel like a solitary journey; but one is never alone in being, and in the making, of home.
In giving form to the feminine, Yan Santos explores the broader interconnectedness of identity, domestic labor, and time. For her, art-making and home-making closely correlates: each is a condition that feeds and nourishes each other.
The works here point to the preciousness of the sites, things, and stories within such common space. The largest works delineating and denoting the domestic realm are quilts and sofa sets. The patchwork of the former is stitched together from textiles lovingly worn during housework; the embroidered narratives in the latter are sourced from real conversations with other women, who have all survived different yet equally challenging circumstances in life.
The works also light on countless, complex moments of negotiation each homemaker, regardless of sex or gender, grapples with daily. Hundreds of eggs, cradled in various receptacles, are labelled with professions denoting dreams that may begin, or end, at home. A series of seven paintings presents disparate domestic things which all attest to the quiet sacrifices each homemaker makes: choosing to give time, weighing, measuring, balancing, and cherishing.
In reimagining the making of home, Yan Santos communicates the complexity of a place not always safe nor stable; offering a tribute to fellow makers of living spaces, where tender narratives of incredible strength and resilience reside.
Words by Lisa Ito