The work of Tarja WaIlius, ‘Everyday Excellence’, encouraged me to contemplate my life in remote South Australia. Having to deal with the loss of a loved one, as Tarja is, is different from my circumstances. I was wondering how my feelings relate to Tarja’s when her mother passed away and she felt orphaned, lonely, sad, left in the midst of everyday life and having to cope with her loss.
In spite of having to cope and life going on, I am questioning how personal hardships and losses marginalise us. Is marginalisation not about dealing with feelings of being left behind and frustrations with circumstances we cannot change? Marginalisation is an uncomfortable space – it is hard to deal with, it leaves us sad, upset, irritated or unsatisfied.
Tarja’s work, the images of everyday objects, brought me some comfort, although not in the way her making processes and entanglements with familiar objects helped her to work through life situations, memories and feelings. I found comfort in the order Tarja created in her installation of familiar home objects through the use of space and colour. The contrast of black objects against white creates a soothing rhythm along the curvy wall. The sense of order and rhythm that I connect to Tarja’s home objects signifies to me the comforts of home.
This installation addressed my subjective meanings of home and homeliness as I currently live in an ‘in-between’ situation while tackling a tough job and living apart from my family. Spending weekends driving from work to be with my loved ones further complicates matters. This in-between situation results from feelings of leaving my previous ‘home’ and immigrating to Australia, fuelled by the hardship of finding a job without having previous Australian working experience. As a result, I now live and work in remote Far West South Australia, removed from my family.
As individuals pushing for recognition in our work and personal lives, we often fail to reflect on our personal challenges as they are often too hard to deal with or we just do not want to face hardship and instead we choose to disregard these difficulties. Tarja’s installation moved me to reflect, think and accept my difficult circumstances and how important my connotations to home have become. Perhaps home is now going to be remote South Australia.
By Melanie Sarantou
Installation and photography by Tarja Wallius