Homes for the Disembodied: An Installation by Mary Tuma
March 24 - May 24, 2007
Made from more than 70 yards of black chiffon, Mary Tuma's Homes for the Disembodied is a large-scale sculptural installation of four connected black dresses of the type worn by Palestinian women. The dresses, each 25 feet tall, are hung separately from wire forms at the neck and shoulders but are connected by the draping fabric at their feet. The fact that the dresses are composed of a single piece of fabric is significant, denoting the shared misfortune that binds the Palestinian people together.
For Tuma, a California native of Palestinian origin, these dresses symbolically serve as homes for the spirits of those who used to live in Jerusalem, but who died before they were able to return. The heroic scale of the dresses represents the strength and courage of Palestinian women in particular—both those who have been lost and those who continue to carry on in circumstances that they have little power to control or change.