Lake Charles, LA
When my family, home, and hometown were shaken by the aftermath of Hurricanes Laura and Delta, I felt incredibly lost. I was displaced for months, but I have learned to adapt to these rapid changes and discovered that home is not just a house. Spending the past eight months picking up the pieces from the destruction the hurricanes caused has given me a lot of time to dwell on the concept of home and what it really means to me. My work for this exhibition explores a personal journey from the past year in regard to the term “home.”
For me, home can be categorized into five major themes. Nature, family, house, hometown, and myself is what my definition of home has become. First, nature is my home when I need to escape. I feel a sense of stillness, spiritual comfort, and renewed hope in nature, which shook me greatly after the hurricane because suddenly nature did not seem peaceful. Despite finding solace in nature, my family is my first home. My incredible family has been my foundation for learning everything that has made me who I am. They give me a sense of belonging, comfort, responsibility, and unconditional love. They support me endlessly, and I cannot imagine my life without them. Third, my house–the house I have lived in nearly all my life is my home. It has been the setting for so many incredible memories. It is the only home I remember, and it was bittersweet to leave it the way I did. Things happened so quickly, and I had to move on and find a temporary home in the city. Lake Charles, my hometown, is another place I have always called home. I have lived here my entire life, so leaving it for almost two months after the hurricane felt very strange. The destruction around town was, and still is, staggering to see. Finally, I have learned to recognize home within myself. No matter where I live or what challenges I face, I will always feel lost if I cannot find home within myself.
My work is a personal narrative, but I believe it is important to share these experiences with others who may relate to similar struggles. Over the course of this year and all of its unpredictable challenges, I realized my definition of home is not a single place. These images depict that discovery.