Although I was not home in the US for the holidays, ‘home’ was a theme that followed me as I celebrated both Christmas and the completion of my Masters Thesis paper whilst in the United Kingdom this holiday season. The Queen’s speech broadcasted on December 25th took ‘home’ as its theme in which she stated, “there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home. For many, the idea of ‘home’ reaches beyond a physical building – to a hometown or city.” With her words relevant to my life as well as to millions around the world, the ideas and connotations of home are complex and emotional yet simple and comforting.
My thesis paper approached these ideas of home and presented them in the form of a unit plan to my second-grade students. With many of my students living in a country and culture different from their parents, these ‘Third Culture Kids’ explored their thoughts and emotions regarding home, place, and identity within their art. Their artwork was then used as a part of my case study to support my research.
How can artmaking help primary-aged Third Culture Kids understand and communicate ideas of how place shapes identity and self-perception?
I facilitated an eight-week unit plan where students unpacked ideas and feelings about their home. Through drawings and mixed media collages, students created an art piece that visually represented their ideas and feelings regarding their home, culture and the place in which they live.
From flags to foods, to family and favorite toys, these primary students were able to express the weighted word of ‘home’ to represent their identity, memories, culture, and people that help them to define home.
On my last day in London before flying back to my now home in Hong Kong, I went to The Geffrye Museum. The exhibition I experienced, ‘Home Thoughts: Stories of Living in London’, documented London residents’ stories and ideas connected to “home”.
The questions that the exhibition presented are questions I will always ponder and although the answers may change as time passes, for me home will always be where the heart is.