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Writing project
This writing project is available for visitors to the exhibition. It is also suitable for a classroom project.

What is home?
The idea of home is central to most people's lives. There are many types of homes and feelings about what home can be. In Australia, the idea of home has often been linked to the concept of national identity and the ownership of the family home referred to as 'The great Australian dream'.

In the contemporary consumerised world, a stylish home is held up as the icon of success and equated with the perfect life. Home can be viewed as a refuge from the pressures of the outside world, but with the intrusion of the media, are we ever safe?

Migration can disrupt the traditional physical concept of the home. Home may be where the heart is, a series of memories, photographs or traditions. The word medina is Arabic for city. Through poetic and literary use it has become the ultimate symbol of home. Durriya Kazi and David Alesworth describe the artists who collaborated on Very very sweet medina (Home sweet home) as 'dream makers'. They would like you to share your dreams about home with others.

Think about these questions and write a paragraph on what home means to you.
(You may incorporate photographs or drawings)

  1. What does the word home mean to you?
  2. What is your favourite part of your home?
  3. What would your ideal home be like?

    Virtual Book Virtual book.
    Click to view samples of Writing Project pages from Very very sweet medina (Home sweet home),
    'The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.', Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 1999.

Other ideas for the classroom
Start from the personal
Ask students to bring a family photograph to class.
Use this photograph as the basis of a series of activities where students are encouraged to tell the 'story' of their family. Activities could include:

  • Construct a family tree
  • Make a collage using photocopies of the family photograph and text
  • Produce an oral history project that traces a family story
  • Paint a family portrait
Reference works
ZHANG Xiaogang Three comrades (from 'Bloodline: The big family' series) 1994
Bhupen KHAKHAR Portraits of my mother and my father going to Yatra 1971
NGUYEN Minh Thanh Portrait of mother 1998
Natee UTARIT Mother (from 'Appearance and reality' series) 1998

The family in society
Investigate the telling of personal and public stories.

  • Design a group of symbols to represent a student's family history
  • Design a web-page that explores the concept of family in today's world
  • Produce a photographic essay that reflects the lives of three different family groups
Reference works
Nilima SHEIKH Shamiana 1996 (see below)
N.N. RIMZON House of heavens 1995
WANG Jinsong (Untitled) (no.5 from 'Standard family' series) 1996


Nilima SHEIKH India b.1945
Installation of Shamiana at The Second Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, 1996
Hanging scrolls of casein tempera on canvas plus canopy of synthetic polymer paint on canvas, steel frame, customwood hexagonal plinth with ramp

Six scrolls: 255 x 180cm (each); canopy: 540 x 585cm
Purchased 1996.
Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
Reproduced by permission of the artist

Where is home?
Many people find themselves displaced from their birthplace
  • Find a novel that deals with this experience and write a literary review on the work
  • Produce an audio-visual presentation that explores the concept of home
  • Investigate the cultural make-up of Australia as it enters the 21st century. Produce a work that identifies the main concepts related to why people call this country home
  • Design your dream room
Reference works
GUAN Wei Les vents (The winds) 1997
Durriya KAZI & David ALESWORTH Very very sweet medina (Home sweet home) 1999 (see below)

Kazi-Alesworth Durriya KAZI Pakistan b.1955 David ALESWORTH United Kingdom b.1957
YUSUF PAINTER collaborated on making the images on the cabinetr.
PARVEZ collaborated on the painting.
(Detail) Very very sweet medina (Home sweet home)
Mixed media including wood, synthetic polymer paint, glitter perspex, wheels, speakers, tube lights, fairy lights, stickers, folders, paper
Dimensions: Cabinet: 146 x 46 x 46cm; Painting: 183 x 183cm
Purchased 1999.
Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
Collection: Queensland Art Gallery