Bitumen on savaged shipping crate
Beyond ecological, the ‘crisis’ to which Kelly refers is ‘social’. For instance, her work Homing (2019) evokes the ongoing headlines around migration to illuminate the truth behind fear-mongering reports in which refugees are vilified, thus helping to demonstrate that the current influx of persons seeking political asylum in Europe is just one symptom of a story that has roots in the North-South divide. The work examines displacement through the lens of the disruption of landscape, specifically its conversion into a ruin as result of extraction.
Homing consists of three wooden pieces, each taking the archetypical form of a house, onto which Kelly screen-printed depictions of landscapes –
wild grasses, debris and the ocean – with bitumen, a common construction material. The house operates as an icon, conveying the notion of ‘home’ and the feelings attached to it. As Kelly says, ‘to be home is to be on familiar ground, or homing, to return by instinct to its territory after an absence’.
Homing articulates Kelly’s ongoing research into basic – in the primordial sense – structures, often makeshift or otherwise transient, that represent landscape in a state of flux. In her practice they become allegories of the historical and political conditions of land use and ownership.