-HOME [Hyphenated Home] at Centre and Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamiton, Ontario. Artists: Amelia Jimenez, Farouk Kaspaules, Damarys Sepulveda, Ingrid Mayrhofer, and Gu Xiong, curated by Hitoko Okada.
Unlike the nomadic subject (as discussed by Deleuze and Guattari), the migrant leaves one place to find another. How complete is this act of deterritorializing? Are the imagined spaces created by exile in constant tension with the body that occupies them? Does one belong here or there, in both, or in neither? If there exists a point of return does the returning space retract ever further into the past? How are these notions expressed in different cultures?
In a literal sense, home is a place of residence. Conceptually, "home" negates physical location. Home becomes one’s association with a mental and emotional state of refuge or comfort. The hyphenated identity of first generation new Canadians locates "home" in the liminal spaces between displacement and belonging. Amelia Jimenez describes this phenomenon as “a more fluid, elusive and uncertain place” constructed from “memory or imagination.” Divided geographies, sociographies, and cultural identities challenge transnationals’ lived experiences. Transnationals- a term used by Professor Loretta Baldassar from the University of Western Australia- to describe migrants who "live their lives across borders and develop and maintain their ties to two (or more) homes, even when their countries of origin and settlement are geographically distant." Gu Xiong’s work centres on the creation of a hybrid identity arising from the dynamics of globalization. Farouk Kaspaules explores the duality of “safe” exile as he addresses the ongoing upheaval in his homeland of Iraq. Damarys Sempulveda, an artist and part-time settlement worker, has recorded hundreds of stories from women who have immigrated to Canada from refugee camps. Ingrid Mayrhofer “explores her relationship to home though memory, objects, and economic relationship to land, and subsistence as “connection to my place of origin”. As a second generation Canadian, Okada is interested in the generational impact of the transnational experience. Okada looks to the artists she works with to inform her own inquiries: If subsequent generations become disconnected to ancestral homeland, how do second and third generation Canadians negotiate their own sense of hyphenated identities? How do Canadian born, non indigenous, racialized minorities re-imagine home and belonging if perceived as “outsiders” within their country of origin?
Visualizing the text-hyphen that connects and separates two places, Centre  and Workers Arts and Heritage Centre has collaborated with first generation Canadian artists and a second generation Canadian curator from diverse cultural backgrounds to demonstrate shared concerns around perception, place, identity, belonging, and claiming new spaces as their own.