First Friday Reception: Friday November 7th, 6-8pm
“Thirty-five years ago, when my mother was 3 months pregnant with me, a harsh winter forced my parents off the farm that has been in our family for over 50 years. The 1,300-acre farm is tucked away in the little Badlands of North Dakota and only accessible by 9 miles of scoria road. In February of 2009, they burned down the farmhouse, barns and chicken coup for liability concerns. In September of 2009 I returned to North Dakota and built a 16-foot tall by 40-foot wide billboard like replica of the home with the assistance of my father just over the hill from where the original homestead was. I used the last image taken of the home before it was burned as my model for the front of the structure and attached 20 birdhouses that spell out the words ‘If we lived here, I’d be home by now.’ to the back of it.
In its simplest form If We Lived Here was built in an attempt to provide shelter for the birds that were displaced when their home was destroyed. In it’s most complex form it is a quiet and haunting, ghostlike reminder of what was, what is no longer, and what may never be. It holds memories far beyond my years and comprehension while at the same time providing a new presence of hope and possibilities for this rural landscape. The landscape my mom was raised on, the land that her and my father would try to make a living off of, a place that I dreamed as a child to call home, the land my sister and I will someday inherit.”
Paula Rebsom was born and raised in southwest North Dakota and currently lives and works in Seattle, Washington. Her work explores the many complex relationships that humans have formed with nature and the wild through a variety of media and strategies. www.paularebsom.com