Overview

“Birds build nests, bees build beehives and we, human, strive to build a home”

Home is a project devised by Vivacity in collaboration with artist Issam Kourbaj, designed to unite people through a common need – shelter. The artwork, which was contributed to by diverse communities in the city of Peterborough, intends to provoke questions around what ‘home’ means to
different people.

Home references self-built shelters often seen in refugee camps. Although this artwork would not be able to withstand the weather, the structure itself suggests a place of abode or sanctuary.

The panels of wood have been wrapped with care by community members using pieces of fabric taken from discarded and damaged clothes and textiles, modestly embellished with symbols and motifs that reference the city’s rich cultural demographic. Participants were keen to use the colour blue, commonly associated with the sea and sky, both of which are crossed in the hope of finding a new home.

The shelter is adorned with personal Memory Maps, created during sessions with women at PARCA and Gladstone Connect. Each one tells a different story about the person who made it, documenting life changing milestones such as journeys to and from Peterborough, past family homes and loved
ones.

The project was led by Syrian-born artist Issam Kourbaj who trained at the Institute of Fine Arts in Damascus, the Repin Institute of Fine Arts & Architecture
in St Petersburg, and at Wimbledon School of Art. He has lived in Cambridge, UK, since 1990, where he has been artist-in-residence and bye-fellow, and now Lector in art, at Christ’s College. His work has been widely exhibited and collected. Since 2011, his artwork has responded to the Syrian crisis and reflected on the suffering of the Syrian people and the destruction of their cultural heritage.

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