Anja Studer missed her childhood home in Switzerland so much she decided to create an exhibit that would take the viewer down memory lane with her. Home Sweet Home opens at the cre8ery Gallery in Winnipeg on Thursday March 22.
SCENE invited Anja to tell us about this exhibition and how growing up in Switzerland influenced the work she does today.
Growing up in Switzerland I loved spending time with my Grossmama (grandma) and listening to her stories about growing up with 20 siblings! I was fascinated by her stories about how tough and yet how simple life used to be. I remember her telling me that she never slept on a bed until she was sent away to work in Zürich when she was 16. (They had been sleeping on hay all their lives.) There were so many stories - I just couldn't get enough. I guess I have always had a passion for nostalgia.
"traurigkeit / sadness" 2011 oil on canvas 48" x 24" by Anja Studer (Anja Studer)
Life in Switzerland
is pretty amazing, from the majestic alps, to innovative architecture, diverse culture and clean design. It's exactly what it looks like in movies. It truly is beautiful and picturesque.
My parents would tell you that I have always been very artistic. I wanted to do things differently and I wanted to do them my way. I wanted to see the world and experience living in different places. My family and I spent a lot of time in Italy and there, I fell in love with experiencing different cultures.
One of my dreams had always been to spend a year going to school abroad. While studying Fine Arts in Switzerland, I decided to move to Canada for a year to improve my English skills. I had been to Winnipeg a few times while traveling and I decided that this would be a good place for my studies.
I hadn't planned on staying more than a year, but I made some incredible friends, got a job that I loved and met my husband.
Anja Studer, artist (Jerry Grajewski)
Living abroad without your family can be pretty lonely at times as it can make you feel like an outsider, not belonging in either place. Home Sweet Home
is a series inspired by my childhood in Switzerland and my exploration of heritage, roots, and the concept of home.
The works - which include painting, photography, and installation - reflect the events and influences of cherished childhood memories as well as the hardships of living abroad. In attempting to explore the meaning of heimat (home), I discovered how deeply connected my identity is to my home country of Switzerland. Through this series, I am embracing and celebrating my Swiss heritage and rediscovering myself as a Swiss Canadian.