By Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan

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Lucas Artists Fellows Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan (Brisbane, Australia) explore the connections between wellbeing, home and community with Dwellings: Project Another Country (Saratoga Hills). During artist-led workshops, the Filipino-born couple invited members of the local community, mostly middle and high school children, to build their dream home from recycled cardboard moving boxes. The artists have rearranged these handmade houses, incorporating moving pallets and packing tape, to create an installation at the Linden Grove, above the West Lawn, that resembles an improvised migrant settlement.

Migration, impermanence, displacement and home are themes that underpin all of Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan’s work; themes that are reflected in their use of everyday, inexpensive and ephemeral materials. With Dwellings: Project Another Country (Saratoga Hills), the artists respond to Silicon Valley’s transformation from an agricultural region to an urban center with one of the country’s most diverse immigrant populations. The work prompts us to consider the importance of community and home for our sense of wellbeing, while also alluding to Silicon Valley’s expensive housing market─one of the priciest in the US─its residential construction boom, and ever-widening gap between the Haves and Have Nots.

This cardboard community of dwellings will be added to and reorganized over time, offering an evolving portrait of home, imagined and real.

Dwellings: Project Another Country (Saratoga Hills) is presented as part of COME HEALING, Montalvo Arts Center’s 2013 Art on the Grounds exhibition.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped make this work possible. Special thanks to Arts Queensland, Santa Clara County Library District, Lynn Kitajima, Art Okada, and Mary Okin.

In most of our collaborative and community-based projects we aspire to create new relationships within the world and the foundation of these relationships is co-creation. We employ an interactive methodology, learning from each other through collaboration and creating… Migration has always been a central issue in most of our works. When we decided to leave the Philippines and migrate permanently in 2006, we became a part of that community of migrants who choose to live outside their home/land and to seek a better opportunity and chance. As we painfully integrate ourselves into what we call a rootless land or diaspora, identity is inconstant and its construction becomes a continuous process of negotiation. -Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan