Event, Reviews

Significance of a Home: The Curator’s Tour of SJMA “The House Imaginary” Exhibit

On the 10th of May of 2018, I had the chance to attend a gallery exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art. It is located in the heart of San Jose, California. The exhibit, “The House Imaginary,” was organized by curator Lauren Schell Dickens who gave a talk and tour of the exhibit for roughly an hour. The exhibition revolved around the meaning of a home and homelessness. A quote that stood out to me by Lauren Dickens (2018) reads, “the home, and related ideas of home and shelter, resonates widely in discussions of gender, immigration, race, and homeownership. It is a cipher and aspiration – homeownership is the backbone of the American Dream – and childhood memory, as well as loss and inequality.” What “The House Imaginary” does is bring together various explorations of the house as both an architectural and psychological space in this unstable world we all live in.

house imaginary exhibit
Created by Mildred Howard
The bottles represent the different types emotion one may feel inside the home.

Lauren Schell Dickens stretched the idea of how a house is able to become a home through the people in it, the memories people create within four walls that hold a roof over their head. It is also important to remember that as people, we will always carry those elements of the house with us, along with the memories made and the significance of what it meant at one point. What I also found interesting that I noticed is how the elements, memories, and significance of a house, a family home, will shape us to who we are today, it is our heritage we will always keep with us at all times. Even when we lose our homes, which many have gone through and do end up homeless. When looking around the exhibit and listening to Schell’s talk, I noticed how the audience was captivated and I knew that for many they were looking back at their own childhood and the memories made within their own home. I certainly enjoyed the exhibit because it helped open my eyes and mind to bring awareness to the homeless population in San Jose and from back home.

The curator also invited a special guest, Megan Colvard, who is the regional director of PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) in San Jose. Colvard explained what PATH is and its goal. What PATH does is help the homeless get back on their feet, almost like a second chance especially for those who unfortunately lost their homes. Colvard too reminded us that the homeless, too, are carrying their identity of their home and how it is carried on their back everyday. It is hard to imagine losing ones home, but it does happen unfortunately. It is also easy to take for granted that we have a roof over our head and have endless memories we will cherish.

When I walked into the museum I had no idea what to expect but after learning from the exhibition I was glad I chose this event to review. It was overall a great experience for myself and brought awareness.


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