A question of identity that never arises until it is called into question is that of the home. It forms a seemingly stable and unwavering part of personal history, the fickleness of this stability only becoming apparent when the prospect of leaving or losing your home becomes a reality.
Helen Teede explores the relationship between home and identity in her upcoming exhibition, “Unhomed.” The title, a word borrowed from Homi K Bhabha, through Freud, refers to “that species of the frightening that goes back to what was once well known and had long been familiar.”
Going through the process of leaving her home permanently, her paintings evoke the uncanny moment when a seemingly safe and stable place suddenly becomes something other and outside, traversing a fine line between the familiar and the terrifying. Fragments of her personal life enter and become a part of the discourse of migration and displacement, a discourse intimately connected with violence, that occupies a major part of recent world history. While the process is fraught with uncertainty, it speaks to a shared humanity, fostering a commitment to be of a place and of a time that makes genuine tolerance and reconciliation possible.
Helen Teede's paintings tell a fragile story of disentanglement and severance from the place in which she grew up. “Unhomed” is an exhibition comprising a deeply personal body of work that at the same time speaks to a wider discourse of loss, dislocation and identity both in Zimbabwe and in the world today.