Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home

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The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home is an exploration of the post-war British experience of immigrants, the decoration of their living spaces and their position in society in relation to decolonisation.

The Front Room

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The Front Room is a unique study by author Michael McMillan of the position of the home in different migrant groups. McMillan draws upon memories of his relatives’ homes in the 1960s and 1970s to show a representation of his vision of the traditional ‘West Indian’ front room and the symbolism of particular objects. McMillan examines how these rooms raise the issues of class, migration, aspiration, religion, alienation, family and the transition from the colonial to the post-colonial. The front room provides an outlet to respond to the feelings of displacement, exile and alienation and the rebuilding of a home in a strange land.

The Front Room discusses the groundings of the front room in Victoriana and colonialism, with memories from first-generation West Indians and second-generation Black British. Primarily concerned with the West Indian front room the book expands to Moroccan, Surinamese, Antillean and Indonesian migrant groups and the decoration of their interiors and their position throughout decolonisation.

With text from leading cultural theorist Stuart Hall and photographs from living rooms and lounges of the time, installations by artists on the theme of the living room and photos of associated objects, this book presents a unique discussion of cultural studies.

For more information about The West Indian Front Room and other front room installations, exhibitions and projects please visit

Additional Information

Author Michael McMillan
Publisher Black Dog Publishing
Page Count 144pp
Publication Size 9 x 11
Publication Notes softcover, 120 b/w and color illustrations
Publication Date October 20, 2009
ISBN 978-1906155858

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