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Mary Modeen - Continuing to Challenge 10 October 2006

Mary Modeen’s stimulating multi-dimensional exhibition ‘What is This Place Called Home?’ may have just closed at the Manx Museum, but her book ‘This Place Called Home’ continues to question and intrigue people’s ideas of ‘home’. Mary Modeen signing copies of 'This Place Called Home' at th

The temporary exhibition ‘What is This Place Called Home?’ and the accompanying publication ‘This Place Called Home’, explored the variety of thoughts and feelings that people have about ‘home’ and why it is important to them. The exhibition contained a wide range of artwork from large scale photographic images, audio-visual and sound installations to sculptural works exploring the themes of ‘home’, identity and a sense of belonging.

The book and the artwork on display were the product of the Mary Modeen’s fieldwork on the Island in 2005. This work involved her talking to a wide variety of people about their thoughts on ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ and also photographing and filming various events around the Island. The artist wanted to discover what made and makes the Isle of Man different and how Manx residents and visitors felt about the island.

Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History for MNH and contributor to the book said:

“The word ‘home’ is something we all think we understand, it’s where we live, it’s where we go back to at night, but in practice it’s something we rarely think about or ever consider.
So it’s intriguing to actually stop and consider what ‘home’ really does mean to us and whether our feelings about ‘home’ change as we get older or move to different places. It’s an opportunity to realise that something so apparently simple as the word ‘Home’ can mean so many different things – it’s a place, it’s a building, it’s people and family, it’s a feeling – it’s home.

The book ‘This Place Called Home’ contains five essays which explore the themes of ‘home’, identity and a sense of belonging from a variety of different perspectives and in different contexts around the world. These include senses of identity in Canada and New Zealand through to the meaning of a humble rag rug on the Isle of Man.

Yvonne Cresswell continued:

“The exhibition ‘What is this place called home?’ has provided an interesting starting point for an exploration of thoughts about the concept of ‘home’ and ‘belonging’ and engages visitors by asking them to consider how they would identify ‘home’ and what gives them a sense of belonging, or not, as the case may be.
The new publication ‘This Place Called Home’ takes these questions further and provides ideas about how different people in different parts of the world consider ‘home’ and a sense of belonging; it also provides several illustrations of the works of art displayed in the exhibition. As a result the reader of the book is provided with the best of all worlds with a fascinating series of illustrated essays and an illustrated record of a most thought-provoking exhibition.”

The book ‘This Place Called Home’, was recently launched at the Manx Museum where the artist Mary Modeen signed copies of the book and gave a guided tour of the exhibition. The book as well as exploring the same topics as the exhibition also contains a variety of illustrations of both the artwork displayed in the exhibition and a wealth of historical and archive views of the Isle of Man. The publication is currently available from the Heritage Shop at the Manx Museum for £11.95.

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