Working for Home

408 black and white photographs showing hands working.  Overall dimensions on the wall – 122 x 1036 cms.


In recent years, part of my enquiry has involved an investigation of the subject of home making.  I am myself, a homemaker;  it is part of my frame of reference.  There are many women in a similar position and recently I have been talking o some of them, asking their opinions about the notion of “home”, its essential qualities, its value in society and the work done in creating and maintaining a home.  Housework is a functional necessity:  it is valued only as a means of ensuring hygiene and order, while “home” is seen as an atmosphere, and a relational experience.  A great deal of thought goes into home-making and this piece juxtaposes those thoughts with images of the work done as a testament to that work and to all the women who are involved in this activity.

This work represents a body of opinion which is not always apparent in our society – that of the people who work behind the scenes, shaping the next generation and providing a background for the development of children, of the people who will inherit the responsibility for running the country.  Part of this body of opinion feels that, in times when young people are vulnerable to delinquency and drug abuse, it is imperative that there is a presence at home to watch over their education and rearing.  It is, as one woman says, the most important job in the world.

Working for home is a political issue.  Maintaining a stable background for the development of the next generation has far reaching implications, especially in an age when women are seeking to take their place in the world of employment and remuneration.  Part-time and job-sharing employment is the option many women have chosen in order to facilitate their work in the home while at the same time, maintaining a presence in the world of work and careers.

  • What provision has been made for the people who work for home?
  • What is their social status in a world which measures everything in terms of its monetary contribution and economic viability?
  • What is the value of providing a home and the secure background for self and family?
  • Is there an alternative in society for this focus?
  • How is society dealing with the changes that are taking place in home life now that more and more women are going back to paid employment?
  • Who will look after the children if all women opt for paid employment outside the home?

The dedication of the women is marked in this work.  Their reasons for opting to prioritise home life above their careers are brought forward and their opinions regarding the value of what they are doing are given a voice.