Premiere: ‘What Is Home?’ poses questions about Ireland’s housing crisis

Words: Dylan Murphy
Photo: Dave O’Sullivan

In the new short film, Irish artist Asbestos discusses the motivation behind his new mural, which featured as part of the Ardu Street Art Festival.

We live in a time where it’s becoming increasingly expensive to put a room over your head in Ireland. Rent prices are sky high, cuckoo funds are buying up property to artificially inflate the market and for young people, purchasing a home feels like a pipe dream. The practical factors coalesce with everyday pressures in a way that has us questioning what ‘Home’ even means anymore? If we don’t feel safe in the places we rest our heads at night is it still our home? If the cost of living impedes our ability to be fully immersed members of society, can we still call our cities home?

Irish artist Asbestos asks these kinds of questions through his new mural in Cork. The image of the artist with a cardboard house over his head arrived as part of the Ardu Street Art festival that also features Friz, Asbestos, Conor Harrington and Shane O’Malley and challenges passersby to examine their own sense of home.

Mural by Asbestos.

We’re delighted to share the exclusive premiere of ‘What Is Home?’. The video digs into the deeper meaning behind a mural that seeks to challenge the status quo and encourages locals to explore their own sense of home.

Speaking on the new mural, Asbestos says, “I painted this figure wearing a cardboard box on his head to start a conversation with the public about what home means to them. As a country we are currently in an existential crisis over housing and our need to put a roof over our heads. There’s a fear and uncertainly about finding a safe space, and the system seems to be stacked in favour of the landlords. The figure wearing the box is me, but a fictional version of myself who’s looking at the world with a naive view point. So each of my masks, or personas is a character that’s asking a different question. In this case ‘What is Home?’ Home isn’t simply about where you were born, it’s where you feel you belong, where you feel safe, where you’re welcomed, where you can come back to and feel accepted, loved and part of a community. We seem to have lost sight of this recently because we’re so concerned about rent, mortgages or even having a home. Painted over 8 days in the sunshine and rain, it was wonderful to speak to so many curious Corkonians about the mural. The support has been amazing from the public and my friends and family here, Cork definitely felt like my home for a week.”

Watch the ‘What Is Home’ below:

Previous premiere: ‘Skin to Skin’ is the film reexamining hook up culture.