Neighborhoods of the Heart

Neighborhoods of the Heart, at Sunset Art Studios

Last December, I was invited to be the visiting artist at the Center for Creative Connections at the Dallas Museum of Art in the summer of 2018. This great honor involved developing a series of programs, based on my artistic process and concept, to connect visitors of the museum to the works in the collection and a larger idea.

I proposed the theme of home, fundamental for my process but also so very relevant in Dallas (and so many other places) today. After several floods and hurricanes, rapid development and gentrification, housing crisis and migration, losing one’s home has turned into displacement for many people in the area. And this is something close to my heart as well.

My main project, meant for the self0guided part of the Center for Creative Connection, is called Neighborhood of the Heart. It invites visitors to draw a home – a lost home, a dream home or a current home – on a transparent square. These individual drawings of homes are then composed together to form a neighborhood, in which homes in disparate places and times, or maybe in different dreams, are close to each other. The large-scale drawing is printed as a cyanotype – a photographic historic alternative process that through the decades (centuries now) has been used extensively for scientific imaging and architectural blueprints. In fact, the word blueprint comes from there – it is, in fact, an intense blue color. The merging of scientific imaging and the artistic expression of dreams and hopes is important for my idea of offering a visual representation of a complex personal and social issue.

The image above is not from the museum. To be able to make such a large print – think about the space and even the contact frame to make this print! – I applied for an artist residency at Sunset Art Studios, an innovative social practice studio in Oak Cliff, Dallas – aptly, one of the neighborhoods affected by gentrification right now. There, I hosted a community drawing event to accrue drawings of homes to make the initial print for the Museum.

That event was a revelation in itself. While people came to draw homes, they discovered that they didn’t remember their childhood homes – or at least their memory was distorted. Their sense of space and proportion of the different parts in it was influenced by their experiences in each of them. so the structure they drew was following those memories. And also, when people drew they couldn’t help talking about their homes – in some cases, calling their parents to discuss them or get help remembering. I would say that this event was really the main part of the artwork created. You can see the first big print in the image above, on the right, displayed here at Sunset Art Studios exhibition.

Expect to see more prints over the summer at the Dallas Museum of Art! Along with other programs that I am working on with the museum staff. Stay tuned!

1 thought on “Neighborhoods of the Heart

  1. Pingback: The Museum of Home Touch | Ellie Ivanova

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