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Deveron Projects

The Town Is The Venue
What is a Shadow Curator? What is a Shadow Curator?

Leena Nammari

Belonging

2002

The mollusk's motto would be: one must live to build one's house, and not build one's house to live in.
Gaston Bachelard
An exploration into the notions of home and belonging

Leena Nammari is a photographer originally from Palestine, who studied in Dundee, and stayed with us for seven months during 2002.

'Belonging' is to fit in somewhere, to be a part of something, to be correctly placed in a particular context, to be the property of something/somewhere, to be at home. Belonging somewhere provides identity, relief, joy and hope. It is being at home - but what is home? Is it a house? A country? Or somewhere more personal? And what happens to those of us who have an irreparable breech between where we are now, and where we consider home - through unfortunate circumstances or through choice? And, can a sense of belonging simply be lost over time?

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Leena admits to feeling a significant estrangement from 'home,' and now considers it more of an abstract concept which she must strive to understand through her artwork. But this process allows us to reconsider our own definitions of belonging and where/what home actually is. Leaving what was her home during the Intifada, she later felt that she could only return as a visitor - life there had changed considerably, affecting the physical and psychological circumstances of where she once felt most at ease. Having lived in the UK since 1988, Leena continues to negotiate a feeling of belonging in an alien country, as an alien herself. In Huntly, she brought up these concepts and showed us just how universal these ideas are. Working with the children of the Gordon schools on projects that allowed them to respond to the topic of belonging and to illustrate personal connections with the idea of home and their favourite place - the children articulated sensitive and imaginative definitions of these concepts. An exhibition of her photographs of Huntly and images representing scenes from the Brander building were exhibited in the caretaker's flat.

More specifically, her images represented memories of Huntly, and memories of Leena's - she struck up a very friendly relationship with the cleaning woman in the Brander building, Hilda. These memories also belong; they have a home. Though as Leena illustrates through juxtaposing old and new, the reality of things can fade though our memories remain, just as homes can fade away and the relationship someone has with a place is never given, and always precarious. In considering these issues, a panel discussion was held in the Huntly Hotel that September that included Leena, Nora Radcliffe (Local MSP), Kenny Hunter (Glasgow-based artist), Glen Neil (principal art & design teacher in Gordon schools), Robbie the Pict (founder of the Scottish Pictish Cultural Society) and chaired by Seona Reid (director, Glasgow School of Art).

     

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