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The Meaning of Home

How can art reveal fragmented experiences and memories of home when the trauma of displacement occurs?  What does ‘home’ mean to settlers and immigrants? Discussing their pasts in different parts of Africa, two artists explore personal and collective experiences dealing with emotional complexities and questions of identity, nostalgia and politics.

Image: Patti Gaal-Holmes

As curators and museums struggle to engage with the complex issues of the global art world, artists Patti Gaal-Holmes and Patrick Altes discuss the shifting concept of home with University of Portsmouth cultural historian Marius Kwint and PhD student Emilio Distretti.

Patti Gaal-Holmes was born in South Africa to German and Hungarian immigrants and has lived in various countries, including Israel, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Cyprus. Her interests in post-colonialism, cross-cultural identity and exile inform her cross-disciplinary art practice.

Patrick Altes is a French artist born in Algeria.  He has lived in Ecuador, South Africa and the UK, where he is currently based.  His art practice is informed by his interests in post-colonialism and cultural identity. Patrick’s work explores the notions of displacement, alienation, diaspora and their impact on identity, as well as our shifting and ambivalent attitudes about belonging, dispossession and the self.  He is currently working in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth on post-colonialism and the Algerian revolution as part of his second fellowship awarded by The Leverhulme Trust.

Marius Kwint is a senior lecturer in visual culture in the School of Art, Design and Media at the University of Portsmouth. His interest in memory, objects and collecting stems partly from work on the history of the souvenir while a senior research fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art. Marius recently curated the highly popular Wellcome Collection exhibition Brains: the Mind as Matter, which will tour to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester from July 2013 to January 2014.

Emilio Distretti is a PhD student in the School of Art, Design and Media at the University. His research focuses on Italian colonialism in Libya and the Horn of Africa and investigates material culture, the politics of memory, migration and their impact in the post-colonial present.

This event is organised in partnership with the University’s Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries Space Offsite programme, curated by Denise Callender. Denise is the curatorial lead and founder of the award winning New Creatives project in collaboration with Aspex Gallery and seven further education and sixth form colleges.


Date: Wednesday 5 June 2013

Time: 6-8pm

Venue: Aspex Gallery, Vulcan Building, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth PO1 3BF


Admission is free but by ticket only from

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