Mary Tuma – Homes For The Disembodied

Homes For the Disembodied - Artist Mary Tuma

Artist’s Statement:

Homes for the Disembodied is a large-scale suspended sculpture made from 50 continuous yards of black chiffon folded to create five connected dresses similar in form to the dresses traditionally worn by the women of Palestine. It was created for exhibition at the Al Wasiti Art Center in East Jerusalem in the year 2000. Homes for the Disembodied is both a memorial to and an offering for the people displaced from Jerusalem who were unable to return to their homes before their deaths. That the dresses are actually one piece is significant and speaks to the link that binds the Palestinian people through a shared misfortune. The dresses are lined up facing a single direction, as if waiting in line or moving together. The heroic scale reflects the strength and courage of Palestinian women who must carry on in unjust circumstances they have little power to change.

“To be more specific about the piece’s relationship to what is happening today, and to the apartheid issue in particular: Palestinians are still restricted from travel to Jerusalem, even if that was their home until 1967. Currently even more travel restrictions apply, so that there are Israeli checkpoints between Arab villages within the occupied territories as well as checkpoints between the occupied areas and Israel. These checkpoints are meant to create impossible situations for the Palestinians, to disempower them and to control every breath they take. The reasoning behind such control is, of course, Israeli security, however the presence of the many checkpoints within the territories attests to the false nature of this explanation. The piece is meant to point out the lack of access to the city of Jerusalem, the so-called open city.” - Mary Tuma

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