Sarah Parker is the founder and coordinator of Reverie Projects. She was introduced to Villa Alba when she was just 14 by her mother who was, and still is, involved with the house. This was the beginning of a long and intense love affair with the space.
Sarah saw the house as an inexhaustible source of creative inspiration and potential. The house has had a formative influence over her own art practice, with Sarah returning again and again to its story of loss and recovery within the symbolic content of her painting and sculpture. She has been working with the Museum on various projects over the last 10 years and in 2009 she founded Reverie Projects as a way to further encourage the relationship between the house and the contemporary art community.
Her connection to the house is deeply personal – this project is a labour of love.
Cabinet of Curiosities, featuring ‘Artemis’. Installation Shot, Reverie Exhibition 2009
Sarah: The most important part of this exhibition is the house itself. As artists, we have been invited into this space to exhibit our work but we can’t forget that the house is an exhibitor too.
It is really important that the show doesn’t overtake or overpower the house. The house needs to speak for itself.
I see the house as another artist. It is the most important artist, exhibiting its atmosphere, its light and its history.
We can’t be too intrusive – we are merely guests in this remarkable and precious space.
Villa Alba has a majesty all of its own. I’m in love with this place. I knew when I walked in for the first time as a teenager I would always hold this place close to my heart. I thought it was incredible that a group of people got together to protect, nurture and care for an abandoned building.
It’s up to us to keep the passion and history going. So many beautiful historic houses have been lost. Here we have a house that has been cared for by a wonderful group of people that love it. This is so rare and we are so lucky to be a part of it.
This exhibition is about raising awareness about the house and helping the committee raise funds to keep it alive. It is vital that this committee and its volunteers continue to be supported – without this committee and the Friends of Villa Alba there would be no house and no museum.
This is a story of growing old gracefully. Over the years, as other properties have been sold and renovated, this house held its ground. It has been rescued from oblivion, and with it the stories of all those who lived here and made this space their home.
The intense shine of the patina on the wooden stairwell has been created by thousands of hands moving up and down, day after day. By ensuring the house doesn’t disappear we are making sure the traces of these hands don’t disappear along with it.
Family Portrait: Mamma has a Bird Hat, mixed media 2012