July 31, 2014


Mary Tuma’s “Homes for the Disembodied”
One of her well renowned projects was Homes for the Disembodied in 2000. While living in Jerusalem, Tuma created a sequence of 5 black dresses all connected by a single 50 yards of black silk, folded across 24 feet of ground. Draped from the ceiling to the floor, hanging from the shoulders and neck on a wire, their phantasmal appearance offers an homage to loss and belonging. 

The loitering displacement of values to her affiliation of identity was maybe one of her most genuine applications to her personal and social integration. It was first shown at Al Wasiti Art Gallery in East Jerusalem, and gained international applause when exhibited through the Station Museum’s then touring exhibition “Made in Palestine” in Houston TX, 2003.

Homes for the Disembodied, 50 continuous yards of silk, 2000 

“I made this piece in response to the Israeli laws denying entry to Jerusalem by Palestinians who had been uprooted from the city in the 1948 and 1967 wars. They were not permitted to return to their homes, their city or even to visit holy sites or the graves of their loved ones. I decided to make a work that would offer a space for deceased Palestinians to dwell in spirit form. The piece is an offering to them and my own way of saying that in one form or another these uprooted souls will make their way home... The empty dress is a continuous theme in my work, used to evoke a sense of identity or spirit. In this case, I chose the form to honor the women of Palestine who seem able to cope with any hardship. They are heroic to me and an inspiration.” 

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