Suzo Hickey
"The Comfort of Home", Essay by Susan D. Edelstein (exerpt)

Suzo Hickey, also sympathetic to the issues of conformity, approaches the subject of home from the point of view of family, relocation and queer parenting. In her installation of six wall-mounted suitcases, Hickey cleverly transforms the literal travelling case into a metaphoric travelling canvas. Collaging colour images of herself, her two children, and her new female lover onto the suitcases, she uses vernacular narrative to describe the process of leaving her home town and coming to terms with the significant choices she has made. In search of a new life, Hickey takes the viewer on a journey with her, addressing issues of lesbianism, mother-hood, and personal development, describing her emotional and physical separation in a wry, painful, and sometimes humorous voice.

Speaking from her childhood memory of the city, she writes on One Does Not Move for Love Alone, "...Kamloops was not without its big city wonders, though. Woodward's department store had something I'd only seen in movies. It had an escalator."

Describing her parenting concerns she explains:

One does not move for love alone. And my kids would never go for it. Why doesn't she just move here, they would say, there's three of us and only one of her. Besides, it wasn't just love that made me want to move. I wanted to be somewhere where I would be as common as an escalator.
I found an excuse. I enrolled in art school. I had a yard sale. I left.
I spent the first day of my life in Vancouver locked in my new bathroom crying. That night someone cut the lock off the moving van and stole my cherished record collection and the apartment building caught fire. Some people would interpret these things as signs. I ignored them. I took up smoking again. (One Does Not Move for Love Alone)

With a retrospective glance at what she has done, Hickey writes:

In art school I learned that Vancouver is, as big cities go, fairly small. But I'm here with my kids, my girlfriend, and plenty of lesbians.
My daughter plots her future in her room papered with animal pictures and a shrine to Kurt Cobain. She wants to be a vet or maybe a rock star.
But when my son talks about his future, Kamloops is what he talks about. That's where he wants to be. He's not impressed by all the lesbians here. He thinks he'll move back some day. It's not as if there still is only one escalator there. (Now Here I am)

When I see Suzo Hickey, we talk about the irony of our friendship that started over twelve years ago in Vancouver, that lush and rainy place with the so-called greener pastures. When we first met I had never been to her home town of Kamloops; now the roles are reversed and it's the place I call home. Hickey visits her family here, and travels from the "big city" as often as she can.

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