You Can Never Go Home is the MFA thesis exhibition of Jennifer Akkermans, held at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, May 5 - 21, 2016.
In the summer of 2014, Jennifer Akkermans packed everything she owned into her car and moved from Calgary, Alberta to Waterloo, Ontario. Since then, she has been attempting to build a home for herself in Ontario. You Can Never Go Home is the physical representation of this process. Torn between remembering her prairie home and attempting to acclimatize to her Ontario one, Akkermans uses herself as a case study. The process is incomplete, like some of the work in the exhibition. The obsessiveness and anxiety of the installation speaks to the discomfort of such a transition. Through the work, Akkermans is attempting to discover who she is now, in this new place.
You Can Never Go Home reflects the idea of irreconcilable, parallel homes, one that’s here and one that’s there. Moving from Calgary, Alberta, to Waterloo, Ontario, to pursue my Master of Fine Arts, I have used myself as a two-year case study to examine how one might make a new place a home. The installation consists of an abundance of handmade objects: life-sized selfies displayed in lightboxes, sculptures in the form of houses and other symbolic buildings (some containing lightboxes and short video loops), as well as my collections of curios, tools and building materials. As an installation, the work examines concepts, concerns and emotions that accompany the process of moving a long distance— longing, memory, nostalgia, absence, belonging, family, lost-ness, place, time, anxiety, resilience, futility, humour, loneliness, rhythm and routine. It is an anxious, obsessive, yet humourous manifestation of my attempts to feel at home in a new place, just as I am about to leave.