Vessna Perunovich : “Home Paradigm”
On Friday, September 1, the exhibition “Home Paradigm” by the Serbian-Canadian artist, Vesna Perunovich, was opened in the Terra museum hall. After Belgrade and Novi Sad, Kikinda is the third city where the “Paradigm of the Home” exhibition was shown. It is the eighth exhibition in the “Terra” Museum in the current exhibition year.
The project “Home Paradigm” questions whether, home as an entity can be placed at all, or whether we can understand home as a new paradigm, something in flux – a process rather than a stable thing. The realities of what constitutes home and how we make our lives at ‘home’ are changing in an age of high mobility and in the constant shift of local and global contexts. By positioning home to where we find our connections to others and the world, the work challenges the notion of a closed-off and self-sufficient place and alternates how we think about home and where we belong.
The proposed work is informed by the unsettling disposition of the world we live in and the changing realities that we have collectively experienced in the last few years. Echoing various crises existing within society today, the proposed work suggests a reflective space for dialogue around the themes of isolation, division, transitional identities, human rights, home and belonging, expending on concerns at the heart of my practice: boundaries, displacement and migration.
The experience of migration, constant adaptability and shifting perspectives, fundamentally shape today’s contemporary society. The notion of home, exile, migration and belonging are concepts and issues that are a constant inspiration in my artistic exploration. The proposed work will reflect on how we renegotiate domestic place by confronting notions of vulnerability and sanctuary within the public realm. The work aims to evoke the shift of identity and points towards the reinvention of self when a house is no longer a home and a life must be left behind. The immigrant experience entails a continuous settling and resettling, a negotiation with belonging and identity, and a constant reckoning with who we are, and where we belong – a process that is open and on going. In my work, the physical manifestation of a house alternates and mutates from a stable construct to a flexible one. Much like the diaspotic body, it constantly changes; it shifts, transforms, and remains indefinite.
Vessna Perunovich is a Yugoslav born, Canadian artist, based in Toronto and Belgrade. Her diasporic experience is reflected in her multi-layered artistic practice, which is interdisciplinary, performative and transitory in form and content. Positioned in-between traditions and homelands, her work speaks to vulnerability and resilience by addressing issues at the heart of her practice: the politics of movement, home, identity, borders and settlement. In career spanning over three decades, she has exhibited widely across Canada and abroad, recently taking part in the Havana Biennial in Havana, Cuba (2019) as part of Ad Infinitum exhibition and the European Union 4-year project Risk Change (2016-2020) centered on migration. She took part in a number of international artist residencies and art Biennials across the world. She is a recipient of numerous Arts Council grants, including the prestigious OAC Chalmers Fellowship Grant (2019) for her project The Politics of Exile and Compassion.