Aaron Canipe: “I’m Right Where I Want to Be”

We invited artists from Duke’s MFA EDA community to share work they have made in response to the coronavirus crisis. See the full “Home & Away” collection here.

Aaron Canipe: “I’m Right Where I Want to Be”

Artist’s Reflection

It’s been a dream for me to have a family and be a dad and a documentarian, which I’ve tried to balance. As Agnes Martin wrote, ‘Happiness is being on the beam with life—to feel the pull of life.’ My fulcrum is the constants when everything seems to be spiraling — love, beauty, light, seasonal changes, a good cup of a coffee, a home-cooked meal, and of course art.

Oddly, I’m right where I want to be during the pandemic. This is me and Meredith and our five-month-old Lily, all pink and red and a little sleepy. This ongoing body of work is about that tenderness between us during this special and tenuous time. My work has always been about home in a way, but this time, a home that we make together where art and life blur and float between the same rooms.

Addendum — June 22, 2020

Breonna Taylor could not lean in to the safety and security of home; George Floyd cannot see his own daughter grow, and Ahmaud Arbery could not go for a jog without a fatal ending. All of these things are afforded to me easily because I’m white. As a father, it’s hard to imagine a world where I would fear my daughter being a target for police brutality and hate crimes. Justice, equality, and love must win over all.


Aaron Canipe is a photographer and designer living and working in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.