In the upcoming group exhibition EX PARTE, Nicola will be debuting her newest work Constellations. We found some time today amidst the chaos of creation to have a brief chat about life journeys and homes away from home.
Post by Debbie
What’s Constellation about, and how is the process of creating this piece coming along so far?
Constellation is about a journey that starts from the point of home, and the paths that develop as we go outwards from there.
The initial idea was to create a linear artwork of mind maps that contain words with a personal connection to home. But then I thought, ‘Life is not [linear] like that! When you’re moving your home, your site, your place etcetera, you are not really going from point A to point B, but branching outwards with all these twists and turns and fuzzy bits…,’ In the end I decided to make it more organic.
Although Constellation started off with sewing as the main form of illustration, I did more drawings in the end. So yes, the creative process is a kind of organic journey where things change as they go along, similar to the journey from home.
To create such a work about ‘home’ must be quite personal and different from your usual project topics…
Yes! Actually this is possibly the first ever project I’ve done where my own words are used as a personal form of expression. Normally I like to get words from other people and not make myself the focus of my work.
But because this is for the exhibition EX-PARTE, the theme is all about being away from home, being disconnected, or how we connect to a space… so it is quite a personal topic. However, it’s something that so many people experience, so I think if I tackle personally it will still speak to a wider audience with a universal message.
What does the concept of ‘home’ mean to you?
I guess the strongest word I associate with ‘home’ is ‘the beginning’, because home is your birth, and family, and the past.
But then it has a lot to do with memories too.
I’m very lucky that, for me, ‘home’ has a lot of meanings: I can very easily go to a new space- even if I’m just on holiday- and say, “Right, this is where I’m based, this is my home,” and I can very easily just feel comfortable in that space.
I believe that if you’re confident of where you are and what your purpose is there, then you don’t have to have a specific address or item or object to make it home. ‘Home’ is also a lot to do with the people, even though you can’t move them with you all the time!
That’s absolutely true! What is the experience of living in Singapore- so far away from home- like? What made you decide to move here?
Although I’m British and I grew up in England, I also have Asian heritage within my family, so I’m very comfortable in Asia- with the food here, with the heat, with the weather… Since moving here I’ve had the opportunity to travel around other parts of Asia.
For me moving to Singapore was a great opportunity, and the option came up. I happen to have a collector who is based here, so I asked him, “Should I do it, is it a good place at the moment?” – and this was about three years ago. He told me that the arts scene here is growing and blossoming, with lots of new things happening- it seemed like it was a good time to go, so I just decided to take the chance and see what happens.
You call both countries your home- how do you find that?
It sometimes confuses other people because I talk about both UK and Singapore as my home, and I’ll say, “Oh, I’m coming home on this date, but then I’m going home on that day.”
For me it’s easy to have more than one place as home, even though each may have slightly different meanings from each other. I think that you don’t have to have just one point as home, and sometimes it can be bit more of a conceptual thing- something within yourself or it could be another person, such as your family or your partner.
EX PARTE runs from 17th – 21st June 2015 at the Brick Lane Gallery, 196 Brick Lane, London E1 6SA.