NEW LAND EXHIBITION PROPOSAL, ".......do you know this idea of the imaginary homeland? Once you set out from shore in your little boat, once you embark, you'll never truly be at home again. What you've left behind exists only in your memory, and your ideal place becomes some strange imaginary concoction of all you've left behind at every stop”
(Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs, 2014)
Prior to the NEW LAND images represented in this website, MEMORY ROOM, a series of mixed media paintings, included imagery of lost boats in which Mon's exploration of subconscious personal memories did not yet examine the direct migratory experience of so many in human history. NEW LAND, a series of more than 284 mostly gouache on paper small works, explores the direct experience of departure, transit, and arrival in a new land. Timely in its consideration of the universal human conditions found in both aspirational, voluntary emigration and reactionary, forced migration, NEW LAND presents a pictorial and narrative visual storyboard of the collective fear and anticipation experienced by immigrants and refugees.
The vibrant images and their evocative, questioning titles retell of an emotional journey mapped out by works such as “We Wait As Long As it Takes. We Will Reach The New Land”, “Out On a Limb In The Cold, My Green Card Not Accepted, How to Get to the New Land?”, “Is the New Land Struggling to Find It’s Balance?”, “Who is Trying to Destroy our Hopes for the New Land?“, “Damn That Wall! There Has to Be A Breach So We Can Find Our Way to the New Land.”; “Persist! Yes! But Who Will Take Care of This Old Lady In the New Land?” “How Will We Ever Reach the New Land? (Trap of Death)”; “Can Fear in the New Land Have So Many Colors and Forms?”; “Why Did We Think We Would Be Safe Hiding In The Woods?”.
The more than 284 paintings in the NEW LAND series,, are hung in the gallery in a wall-to-wall installation that immerses the viewer in a surrounding environment of images that vary from extremely sad to upliftingly humorous, from pleasingly abstract to highly representational. Like the layered and diverse experiences of migrants crowded together in transit, the images and their titles move from the interior monologue of the individual to the collective expressions of the group. The viewer, by interacting with both the visual images and their narrative titles is invited to participate in a parallel emotional experience that moves between personal memory, shared history and aspirational considerations of a collective future.
NEW LAND also includes an extension of its concept into an open collaboration with artists invited to participate through social media. Flags for the NEW LAND, is a collaboration between Bascha Mon and her fellow artists who have been invited, in particular through Mon’s presence on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, to create idealized flags for the NEW LANDs of their own imaginings. For Mon, the concept of NEW LAND is a utopian place of diversity where all living things, peoples and animals, fantasy or real, would be welcomed. In her call to fellow artists, Mon invited in submission of flags that are as diverse as her own paintings.
Participating artists respond to Mon’s imagery and the many questions asked by her provocative titles in the making of their own flags. For many they are the questions and images of past family experiences of migration shared with subsequent generations in the new land of their arrival. For others they are a metaphor for the displacement many of us feel living our own lives in our current social and political realities. The artists’ responses speak to the universality of our private and public experiences with dislocation, transitory change and aspirational arrival. These collected flags are included in the installation of a NEW LAND in a way that weaves their imagery and emotional expressiveness into the existing narrative of Mon’s passage to the new land of her creation.