A review of Amal El-Mohtar’s Mon pays c’est l’hiver (Lackington’s issue one, Winter, 2014 http://lackingtons.com/2014/02/13/mon-pays-cest-lhiver/ )
By Derek Newman-Stille
We pretend that home is an easy concept, something that comes easily, but Amal El-Mohtar’s Mon pays c’est l’hiver poetically charts the challenge of home. We hold on to memories of a wintery, beautiful landscape. But our sense of place always shifts. Nostalgia is something that creates a home that we can never return to, an idealised notion of home that is forever slipping away.
Mon pays c’est l’hiver reveals that that wintery beauty of nostalgia is something created in the labyrinths of the self, in the complex passageways of the heart, made of memory and substanceless desire. Nostalgia can be something alluring, constantly calling us back to an idea of belonging that is always slipping away, always proving itself non-existent when played out in our current existence. Home is a changed place, and a place that is perpetually shifting and El-Mohtar reveals to us that we are always travellers, always venturing in and out of memories of different experiences… and that perhaps the best way for us to ‘come home’ is to create it, build it with stories and tales that abstract from memory, that create new realms of belonging.
To read Mon pays c’est l’hiver, visit Lackington’s website at http://lackingtons.com/2014/02/13/mon-pays-cest-lhiver/
To discover more about Amal El-Mohtar’s work, visit her website at http://amalelmohtar.com/