What Is Home? An Exploration of the “Homeland”

We live in the San Francisco Bay Area and are indeed aware of problems such as homelessness, a disparity between wealth and immigration in this city; but how do we begin to understand the concept at its core?

Cooperating with the Goethe-Institute San Francisco, “re:home,” a For Freedoms exhibition and community action, opened its doors on December 1st in the Dogpatch to face, understand, and explore sanctuary cities, homelessness and the flight of the creative class in San Francisco through art. The exhibition goes beyond two dimensional works and includes visual art, installations, new media, and sound art along with performances and interventions by artists–Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Summer Mei Ling Lee + Laura Boles Faw, Rodney Ewing, Julio César Morales– are actively working on issues reflected in the exhibition. The exhibition was curated by Amy Kisch of AKArt, Candace Huey of re.riddle and Suzanne Zuber.

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re:home is also accompanied by a space called Community Action Center, where people can connect to and get information from non-profit organizations such as Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Oakland International High School, Lava Mae, San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, Creative Capital, and Headlands Center for the Arts.

I was not really familiar with these topics and the idea of a “sanctuary city”, as a person who was born and raised in a country of pretty much a racially homogeneous, economically and politically moderate small island. I saw homeless people in Tokyo far and few in between, but I have never seen any out and about amongst the streets. The gap between rich and the poor in Japan is not at such a tipping point like it is in 2018 United States. This exhibition honestly left me heartbroken–because the fact that beautiful San Francisco has plenty of people who are in need of a home and a just a small space to sleep under the roof, that have to struggle for it.

re:home also made me take a look at my situation and the issues through my point of view. I fortunately have a lovely home, family, where I am always welcomed and where I feel safe in Japan. I never have to worry about where I can stay.  I did choose to come to the States as non-American and live by myself. But as much as I love putting myself in an adventure here, I am occasionally attached by loneliness, emptiness and powerlessness coming from struggle with creating bonds with new people, adjusting to different cultures and current strict immigration policies. I am not a political or economic refugee. I physically have a place to live. But still, it is not easy to call this place “home.” I strongly realized how difficult, exhausting, and painful it must be for people who have no choice but to leave their home and start over their new lives on unfamiliar soil.

Art that mirrors reality communicates a strong message; at re:home, the artists speak to your heart. re:home is a great place to rethink the concept of home by getting know deeply the dire circumstance of political and economic refugees. For this exhibition, I am thankful.

// re:home is open Tuesday through Saturday 11am – 6pm, Saturday, December 1 – Saturday, December 29, and is free and open to the public. 1275 Minnesota Street, Dogpatch. Photography courtesy Candice at re.riddle.

What Is Home? An Exploration of the “Homeland”
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