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Home is Familiar Solo Exhibition

A Solo Exhibition of Watercolour Works
by Alli Johnston
Rotary Arts Centre, Corner Brook
November 1 - 30, 2016

In the summer of 2016 I unsettled myself. I hoped to find an answer to the question “What is home?”

I left behind the things that are the foundation of home for me – my kitchen, teapot, bed, books, plants, and even my cat.

My journey began with a 4500 km road trip between Winnipeg and Corner Brook, followed by three months on the remote, re-settled Exploits Islands where I worked on most of the paintings for this show.

I spent time with family in places I knew intimately and made temporary homes with unfamiliar people in unfamiliar places. I lived in a tiny camper trailer, my family’s cottage, my childhood home, a light keepers' residence, and in a 140 year-old wooden house on the edge of the North Atlantic.

On Exploits Island, I lived part of the time without many of the creature comforts of home – electric lights, a washing machine, a fridge, running hot water, or drinkable water right from the tap.

This unsettling caused me to pay attention to the places where I felt most at home: where I was content, at ease, safe, and comfortable in my own skin. I observed commonalities and similarities within my experiences in these home-like places.

The images in this show are drawn from what I now understand about what can make a place feel like home: comforting familiarity.


Teapots are important objects in many homes. They are often the gathering point for social and familial interactions and are a comforting source of warmth and companionship in good times and bad.  

Each teapot depicted in the show belongs to a person or place I know well and I have been served tea out of each of them.

In most cases, I asked friends to send me a photo of their teapot as well as the answer to the question “What do you imagine is inside your teapot?” In others, I thought about the person or place and imagined it’s inner world myself.

video gallery of the artwork in the show

Watch a walk through of the gallery