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No matter where one is in the world, no matter what language is spoken, art has the ability to connect people across country borders. The act of making art together builds community, as in the “Home is Where The Heart Is” exhibition, which is the international collaboration between American artist and art educator Gillian Pokalo and Icelandic artist and librarian, Anna Maria Cornette. Working with women immigrants in both Keflavik, Iceland and Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, Pokalo and Cornette facilitated a series of workshops in which the women were invited to create a clock that represents what “Home” means to them using screen printed imagery. The clock is reminiscent of our own heartbeat and by working with time we see how we all connect, different but in rhythm. Displayed side-by-side, the exhibition explores the common experiences of starting a new life in a new country, reminding us that we are all part of a community and helping those who seek a community build one in a supportive way.
Beginning in Keflavik, Iceland in the spring of 2018, the project was supported through a grant from Iceland’s Immigration Development Fund, which promotes the cultural wealth of immigrants in Reykjanesbaer, Iceland. Pokalo, who was in Iceland during an artist residency in Keflavik, was invited to work with the group of women who call themselves Heimskonur, or women from all over the world, who meet regularly at the library. Their works were on display for the culture festival of Keflavik, “Ljosannott” and later in Reykjavík Library’s Museum of Art.
Stateside, Pokalo teaches elementary art at Plymouth Meeting Friends School and at night teaches printmaking at Community Arts Phoenixville. She sought to collaborate with Alianzas, a grass roots organization that provides advocacy and resources to Phoenixville’s immigrant population. Over the course of the first week of February, Gillian and Anna Maria, and several women from around the world will come together to build community through art-making and will create a series of screen printed pieces that represent “Home is Where the Heart Is”.
The exhibition will open on February 7 at Community Arts Phoenixville, 207 Bridge Street Phoenixville and will run through the month of February. The opening reception is
Community Arts Phoenixville is an initiative of Camphill Soltane. Learn more about Camphill Soltane and Community Arts Phoenixville at www.communityartsphoenixville.org.