(home)land - The 5x5 Project

The 5x5 Project is the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ new temporary public art biennial. DCCAH selected five contemporary art curators to select and work with five artists to develop and present exciting, temporary art works in public spaces in the Fall of 2014. The resulting twenty-five projects served to activate and enliven publicly accessible spaces and add an ephemeral layer of creativity and artistic expression to neighborhoods across the District.

Artists: Marley Dawson, Abigail Deville, Kota Ezawa, Sanaz Mazinani, and Soda_Jerk


One of the common experiences that exemplifies modern life is walking through one of those infinite airport passageways, watching other travelers pass by as you float along on a moving walkway. By the time you reach the end of the corridor, you will have encountered more people–and of such great diversity–than your remote ancestors would likely have encountered over a lifetime. Such an experience is indicative of our globalized world. Furthermore, it is quite possible that on this particular airport journey, you are traveling neither to nor from what you would consider your homeland, or even your current place of residence.

“You don’t belong to either the place you’ve left,” explains writer Pico Iyer, “or the place you’re about to arrive, and you feel completely lost….Being a part of many places, but not entirely of any one of them, is a terrific emancipation.”

There is an extraordinary education to be learned though immersing one’s self in many different places–different cities, countries or climates. There are now approximately 220 million people who live in countries that aren’t their own, a population that could represent the fifth-largest nation on earth. This band of global wanderers may not have a single place they call home, however, in exchange for the rootedness that others are granted, they have the ability–as do many artists–to perceive things with a sensitivity, an acuteness, a perpetual outsider’s eye.

(home)land features the works of artists Marley Dawson, Abigail DeVilleKota EzawaSanaz Mazinani and Soda_Jerk. Currently based in the US, collectively they are connected to such diverse countries as Germany, Japan, Australia, Iran and Canada.

In varied form and content, the works of these artists are deeply informed by their synchronous relationships to multiple cultures and their shared experiences of traveling between a myriad of homes and homelands. Cutting to the heart of twenty-first century cultural relations, (home)land grapples with the relationship between self and place in a world of transitory identities and contested geographies. Within the context of America’s political homeland, Washington, DC, this exhibition excavates the idea of a homeland — no longer simply one’s native land — rather a rich plurality of associations and ideas of belonging, alienation, histories and memories.

^ Abigail Deville, Installation view of Dark Day, Ungovernable: 2012 New Museum Triennial

^ Sanaz Mazinani, 2014 U.S.A.I.R.A.N. 

^ Kota Ezawa, Hand Vote, 2012 Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite

^ Marley Dawson, 2014 Circle Work (rocket assist 37” / 37”, interlocking)

^ Soda_Jerk, excerpt from Terror Nullius (clip from Picnic at Hanging Rock)