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2017-8, Mixed Media (Sewing, Cut Paper, Calligraphy, Photography) 12x18"

Of all the ties that bind immigrant communities to our countries of origin, language is often the first to fray. Yet, whether we acknowledge its influence or not, our past is a shadow that follows us into the future and forms part of our identities. The artworks in Culture Shift explore the connection between past and present. Specifically, what are the effects of migration on our culture and behavior? And what about our steady march through time? As the pace of technology and development accelerates at an exponential rate, what about us is irreversibly changed?


Using photographs from families' origin countries of Syria, Lebanon and Egypt, these artworks encourage a comparison of what elements of culture have been retained and which are lost through generations. Photographs of the same families in the United States are paired with the previous generation on double sided transparent papers. For each pair, a single word expresses the contrast they represent. These words are scripted in the families’ original language, Arabic, and then cut out individually by hand. Applied to the artworks in strategic ways, the calligraphy calls attention to issues like who we idolize, how we view wealth, and how we behave. In one work they collect at the bottom and dissipate upward, mimicking the way in which the spoken language itself falls into disuse by subsequent generations. In others they form a halo, create a mask, or flow like water, always lifting off the page itself and threatening to disappear altogether. The use of transparent images encourages comparison between them. Threads embroidered onto the pages bind generations together even as they move apart. How much of what we do today is affected by the past? How have our values changed? Culture Shift encourages viewers to look at these questions instead of simply allowing the drift to happen, unacknowledged.

This series debuted at the 2015 Jerusalem Biennale as part of the group show Homelands, created and produced by Lenore. They featured in her solo show at Black Diamond Gallery in New York, and selected works were exhibited at the Plein Van Siena gallery in Amsterdam in 2019.

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