Where can I begin? it has been half a year since I last wrote a blog post. Maybe I needed a blogging break. It’s certainly been a time of reflection, this entire year-an inward retreat, a refocusing on where and what we spend our time on, homeschooling and food shopping seemed to be a focus in Spring and suddenly we are heading into Winter.
When I began this blog ten years ago it was following a December trip to Egypt and the idea came to me whilst in Cairo; to document the journey of my husband’s sculptural creations. That first blog post was whilst our two boys were still babies and his studio was our back shed. In the last ten years his journey has grown immensely (along with the size of our boys!).
As I started jotting down ideas for this blog post the sculptor was in Cairo where his first solo show in Egypt is being held. The prestigious gallery of Zamelek has a body of work that looks truly stunning. The exhibition is titled, ‘Motherland’ , so poignant and apt for his debut in his native country but doubly so as the collection is sculptures of ‘Mother and child’. Unlike the last Mother and Child Exhibitions these pieces are drawn from the Egyptian woman, the idea of home being the mother, the women playing a huge role in the home life of Egyptian society, the iconic images of woman carrying their babies. These ideas have all shaped and created the ten pieces currently in exhibition. The opening of the art season in Cairo feels a huge honour. He was warmly received with newspaper and TV interviews, a real ‘homecoming’
The exhibition is asking the viewer To contemplate, what is the meaning of ‘home’? Is it a place, a person, a memory, a feeling, a culture, is it an object?
What does ‘home’ mean to you? Does this trigger an emotion or a reaction?
‘Home’ for the sculptor is the memory of where he was raised, a period of time that he relates back to, a smell in the air, a time of no worries. For the sculptor, it is his sisters, his cousins, his aunties, his mother. These pieces in the exhibition were created to honour his mother and the women who shaped him but also an acknowledgement of the Egyptian Woman in a predominantly patriarchal society.
For me it’s interesting that my husband has a ‘homeland’ in Egypt which isn’t the same for him now, both as an adult, having lived in the U.K. for longer than he lived there, but also because his mother passed away when he was in his early twenties. So in some ways his idea of home is a distant memory. Obviously, ‘home’ I’d also here with our boys and I. Maybe, we all have more than one home.
When I think of home, I think of our house but also my parents house, it’s no longer my home but it has the memories, the feelings, the history that houses my ‘home’. Perhaps, there is no single thing that represents the meaning for us. I also have memories of my first 9 years of childhood in a different place, a different home. In a way, it’s like Egypt for my husband, it’s not a physical tangible thing just vague memories.
I always feel this time of year in England is about spending more time within the home, as the nights draw in and the weather wetter, colder, damper. I usually look forward to this time of retreat but after a lengthy spell in lockdown it feels that this year will be harder. Even more taxing as we enter a second lockdown. I’ve been doing a lot of self discovery and self care through journaling, meditation and unearthing old programming. My chosen word for this year was ‘play’ which I’m really only starting to tap into and move into as the year ends, as I play with paint, bake, create with words. It’s a real fight to suppress the urge to tidy and clean and organise the home over writing, creating and playing around. I feel a need to make the house homely by keeping it in a certain way which is a challenge considering the constructions by its size and two fast growing little men.
I have a desire to be more creative and spend my time (which feels more indulgent) creatively. What this year is teaching me is, that we need to embrace our inner child and to nurture what is important to us. Learn to laugh, relax and enjoy the moments, to be content in the present. It may seem more of a challenge given the global current situation but this is when it is even more important for our well being. For this is when we truly return home, to our home within.