Dividual Notebook: An Exchange

This May we’ve start web-based project called, Dividual Notebook: An Exchange. The work we make is based on our experiences of settling abroad, and our thoughts on what “home” means to us. During the coming year we’ll be exchanging our work and responding to each other on our website, Dividual Notebook, where all the works will be catalogued.

Twenty-five years ago we moved to Ireland. In the time since, all three of us have experienced, to different degrees, feelings of alienation and unbelonging. We’ve worked hard to make our home here, and in many ways we succeeded. But moving away from our family and friends, our roots and our social network, has affected our lives, in big ways and small.

We are voluntary migrants. Jean-Louis left France almost forty years ago. He lived in Denmark and then Holland, where he and Brigit met. A couple of years after Tobias was born we left Holland, searching for a new home. That decision has left some questions hanging over us. What would life have been like if we had stayed? Or more specifically, what did we escape, and what did we loose and gain? These aren’t questions we ask ourselves daily. Life is too busy for that. But it pops into our heads every now and then, stirring up restless feelings like loose tea leaves.

In June, Brigit is travelling back to The Netherlands for an extended stay in the town where she was an art student. It’s also close to the village where she grew up. While there she’ll start creating work based on her thoughts about experiences of settling abroad. Jean-Louis and Tobias will do the same from their locations in Ireland. We’ll exchange our work  via our online sketchbook, Dividual Notebook.  The project will continue till the end of May 2017.  The aim is to create a body of work that reflects our individual and shared thoughts on being and leaving home, and how our identities have been shaped by notions of belonging.