Leave Home Stay in Haiti was inspired by a visiting to the tented villages of Port-au-Prince just after the January earthquake. I was shadowing an Irish NGO, Haven, and struck by the dignity and resourcefulness of the people whose domestic lives were being rebuilt. I returned to the UK and presented a piece about this for ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/8564731.stm
The inspiration was Madame Elizabeth in her heels, a teacher whose school and home was destroyed but who was now a community leader in a village of tents.
I later developed a series of images into an installation at my own home in the south-east of England, at Deal in Kent. The house had already been used as an art space, for a three year Arts Council/Lottery funded work called Leave Home Stay, which dwelt on a decision about leaving – or staying – in my childhood home after the deaths of both my parents in a year. Extending this to Haiti I wanted to show universal similarities in the idea of ‘home’, and give a platform for the dignity I’d seen in Haiti. I installed the work as site specific images in various, related, rooms. This is the first time the photographs have been presented in a non-domestic space. I would like to take them to other spaces, both site specific, and non-domestic. All the Haiti photographs, and those for previous years of Leave Home Stay, were taken, for intimacy, on my cellphone.
Christine Finn is a freelance broadcaster and writer. She contributes to the BBC’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ and has written for UK and US media including wired.com, The Guardian, and the Sunday Times. She reported her first foreign news at 17 and is a former Reuters Journalist Fellow at Oxford. She took a break from a broadcast newsroom to study archaeology and anthropology, continuing to a doctorate on the past as inspiration to poetry. Her books include “Past Poetic” (2004) and ‘Artifacts: an archaeologist’s year in Silicon Valley (2001), She is working on a biography of of JB Priestley’s wife, Jacquetta Hawkes. She occasionally lectures in contemporary archaeology and media at Bristol University.