16 Nov, 2016

revisiting “home”…

Sehba Sarwar
16 Nov, 2016

Sehba SarwarMinal and I spend five days in Houston, where she couch-surfs at her friends’ homes, while I find refuge at my friend Jacsun’s house as I prepare for VBB’s November 14 archive celebration, Responding to Our World, at the University of Houston’s Library.

The day after the archives celebration, our friend Oskar drives Minal and me to the east Houston so we can revisit the house where Minal spent majority of her life. René and I recently sold the property after

recognizing that the home required more upkeep than we could undertake at this time.

The construction workers allow us to enter the house, which was purchased to be “flipped”. The inside is unrecognizable: the kitchen and bathrooms have been torn up with toilets, sinks and tubs removed. The walls of our master bedroom are gone, so we can gaze out at the bougainvillea in the backyard, and the garage has been flattened.

We drive away wondering what the space will look like in a few months. Though the electric and plumbing systems will be modernized, I’m glad that the overall structure will be maintained as will the wood floors.

“My old room is the only one that looks the same,” Minal says in a low voice.

As we drive away, I remember how Minal’s green bedroom was the space I transformed in remembrance of my father, Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, for Voices Breaking Boundaries’ fall 2009 living room art production, Honoring Dissent/Descent in which I introduced my father to Houston. More than 400 people wandered through our home that night, experiencing installations, watching videos, meeting new people and eating fresh food. Audience members left with a better understanding of my father’s work. Thanks to filmmakers Yunuen Perez Vertti and photographers Eric Hester and Ben Soto, the work is documented and can be revisited, even though the house no longer belongs to René, Minal and me.

Sehba Sarwar
Above:image from 2009 Honoring Dissent / Descent in our backyard under the garage; Below: Flattened garage


15 Nov 2016 · 08:42:28 PM