Anna Taylor - 'Home Sweet Home - a Memorial'

Wednesday 11 - Sunday 29 September 2013


Journalist Anne Summers says We have memorials to the dead, but no means of coping with the wounded living. Following straight on from Legacy Week this year, artist Anna Taylor is staging an exhibition to acknowledge the living; the families who find ways to live with veterans when they return from armed conflict.

Home Sweet Home – a Memorial is a new project created by Taylor that pays tribute and raises awareness of the generations of women and children who have vicariously experienced the impact of war; trauma passed on by those they love – the veterans. It is an evolving visual art project in the form of multiple hand-made books. The linen pages are embroidered and hand-written with quotes and stories from people directly affected. Materials and medium explore both to the domestic and the historical.

War doesn’t end when the guns stop. Anna Taylor says. It continues daily, privately and silently in the lives of families living with changed people, veterans. Because of this silence, secondary trauma is handed onto the generations unconsciously through behaviour and even memory.

US sociologist and member of a Holocaust survivor family, Professor Marianne Hirsch terms it as Post Memory. But for Taylor it is shadow memory. It is a shadow that moves from behind, beside, and, at times in my life, right in front of me. As the daughter and grand-daughter of servicemen, war had a huge impact on our family life. This impact has occurred in many family homes yet is unnoticed historically and officially.

Home Sweet Home – a Memorial allows these stories of families affected by war trauma to finally be told and it catalogues its on-going impact. Secondary trauma is increasingly understood but generational war trauma suffered within families in the privacy of their homes, has not. It hasn’t even been noticed.

With the soldiers returning from Afghanistan, we are about to experience another generation of family war trauma. To minimise these effects, families will need assistance, understanding and openness. Creating Home Sweet Home – a Memorial is a way in which we can begin to understand.

Home Sweet Home – a Memorial began in 2012. Anna Taylor continues to gather and record this history until the end of the Centenary of WWI in 2018.