Sylvia Frey created “If I Had” which is a diptych of two paintings that show a pair of buildings named From the North and From the South. Their immediate meaning and understanding is that these buildings are homes or familial homes. Yet they are also from diametrically opposed places — from the North and South. The realization that they are such compels viewers to attach value to these buildings. Sylvia asks: “Is one worth more than the other? Is one more well-built? Do we expect to find different things in these locations? Or, are all of these things similar, and likely to be equally valuable, despite possible valuations made?”
To Sylvia Frey, this is an allegory in the strain of identity and location, and of how being physically situated makes a difference that we cannot account for in other ways. The allegory is a symbol of expectation, thought, feeling, desire, and familiarity. Yet Sylvia suggests that the more people observe, everything begins to look more and more similar. Perhaps, then, even the expectations and estimation of it all is made. Or made up. Maybe. Sylvia wonders: “In a growing world, will any of these things get lost? Will any of these things ever continue to exist? Being home and being possible? Or are these homes strange, different, nothing but ideals that have no real existence?” To Sylvia, these are the dreams and fears and stereotypes and stigmas of humanity.