Studio Haret el Yahoud
A storefront space in the West Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago, historically home to a vibrant Jewish community, which enabled various points of encounter with people in the neighborhood.
The space at 7002 N. California Ave. was rented from 2009-2011 for the project, which included a number of installations and interventions. Following the conclusion of the project, the space hosted Doukan7002.
The transliteration of the Arabic name of the Jewish neighborhood in Cairo grounded the project between Chicago and Cairo and between the contentious present-day and the distant, presumably more tolerant, past.
Selected installations and interventions:
But another wall remains
An installation of Hebrew letters spelling out an excerpt from Sadat’s speech to the Knesset in 1977:
But another wall remains. This other wall constitutes a complicated psychological barrier between us; a barrier of suspicion; a barrier of animosity; a barrier of fear of deception, a barrier of illusions surrounding any action or decision; a barrier of erroneous cautious interpretation of every event or statement ... why don't we extend our hands in honesty and faith and sincerity to shatter this barrier together?
Letter molds used for the project were purchased from a previous tenant at the space.
J, e, w
The letters J, e and w of the word Jewish had been blacked out on the We Stand with Israel sign belonging to a synagogue across the street. In April 2010, I painted the letters back onto the sign.
Come in from the cold
Outside the studio was a bus stop along CTA Route 93. I invited people to come inside to wait for the bus and I would take their place outside.
A poem for you
A bench sign offered a poem to passers-by. Callers heard recordings of poems including Childhood Wall by Ahmed Taha, In Front of the House by Aliyah Abdul-Salaam and excerpts from Rubayat Salah Jahin and Etel Adnan's There: In the Light and Darkness of the Self and of the Other.