About the Work
With House of Sparrows, I have imagined a kind of dream, a journey through which we are transported back in time into the experience of individuals who lived and died during the epic struggle that redefined a period, a way of life, a country. It is a dream shifting with the force of change, full of great pain, loss and dislocation, and it takes us to a place where nothing can ever be the same.
The work is in 9 sections – Each section was inspired in some way from archival photographs, essays and personal memoirs from the Civil War. I used these as starting points for trying to imagine what it was like for the average person during that time -images and stories of lives dislocated. I see these lives as part of a “House” a symbol of a state of mind, an identity, the “House of Self,” fractured and upended. “Home” was also literally and figuratively at the center of the community, the “Collective House,” a symbol of continuity and connection, torn apart and displaced, and that idea extended to a nation divided on itself.
In my research I was struck by a quote, which for me, allowed this dark and terrible dream to begin to resurface; the acknowledgement of the inevitability of change, with or without our understanding.
“A singular fact about modern war is that it takes charge. Once began it has to be carried to its conclusion, and carrying it there sets in motion events that may be beyond men’s control. Doing what has to be done to win, men perform acts that alter the very soil in which society’s roots are nourished. They bring about infinite change, not because anyone especially wants it, but because all- out warfare destroys so much that things can never again be as they used to be. “