5 Fraserwood Ave., Apt. #2 (1993 -1994)
5 Fraserwood Ave., Apt. #2 continues the exploration of home as a construction of personal, private identity within the larger context of the public realm. This series consists of an installation room modeled after my grandparents’ living room and nine colour photographs documenting the room against public spaces that refer to their life history as Jewish immigrant workers in the garment industry. The walls and carpet of the constructed installation room were painted, and the furniture and contents were constructed like stage properties out of painted cardboard, styrofoam and fabric.
Polish Jews who left Europe before the Second World War, my grandparents immigrated to North America where they lived most of their lives in Toronto, Ontario. They both lost most of their family in the Holocaust. This series explores the ways in which their immigrant experience and personal losses determined the domestic environment with which they surrounded themselves in later life. The ornate and flowery character of their home reflected their conception of “success” and “comfort”. Their living room of gilt fixings, busy combinations of patterns and colours, and highly embellished furniture represents all that is opposite to the bleakness of their past hardships. Three sets of photographs document the installation at three different sites: on a factory roof, in a Jewish cemetery, and in my own house with images of a garment factory projected onto an adjacent wall. The underlying theme of these works is the constant presence of history and heritage in the shaping of identity.
I first began to use projections in this series of work.