Fine Artist shows the struggle of building a home in latest installation

Visitors looking at Akkermans' installationIn the summer of 2014, Jennifer Akkermans packed up everything she owned and made the long move from Calgary to Waterloo. This move was not an easy one for the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) candidate.

Ever since making her way to Ontario, Jennifer has been trying to build a home for herself. Her installation, You Can Never Go Home, is the physical manifestation of her process.

The exhibition explores my attempts at making a home here for myself in Waterloo.  It is a mix of approaches, primarily constructed in house forms, ranging in content from videos where I am almost forcing myself to do things that people do at home (repetitive tasks, such as attempting to float a blanket over the bed while making it, or sweeping the floor), to works that are idealistic and nostalgic of Alberta, where I grew up, to my failed attempts to recreate objects from my parents’ home, completely from memory.

Jennifer showed her installation piece at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) from May 5-21, along with two other MFA students: Aislinn Thomas and Anna van Milligen.

Prior to taking up residence at Waterloo, Akkermans graduated with distinction from the Alberta College of Art and Design. While still out west, she exhibited her work at the Art Gallery of Calgary, the Esker Foundation, and Visual Arts Alberta. She also founded the Institute of Morphoid Research – a fictional institution dedicated to the study of organisms falling within a new phylum, Morphopodia – as part of an elaborate artistic undertaking.

As a fledgling artist, the best thing you can do is get involved, says Akkermans:

Making friends and talking to people is important to building your community, which will facilitate conversations around ideas and opportunities, both for now and the future.

Beyond that, says the artist, actually practicing your skill is what will get you to the next level.

Make art! Don't get sucked into playing the part of the artist without actually making the artwork.  Go to openings, be weird, dress in black if you absolutely must, but there is nothing more important to being an artist than actually making artwork. That's also the only way you get better.

In case you missed the MFA exhibition, check out Jennifer’s work online.

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