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A chorus of hands. Thinking on popular assemblies, and mutual aid, and other ways of hearing and being heard, helping and being helped.

This image is drawn from A Threnody for the Dispossessed, a sixty-foot long screen-printed scroll/accordion-book that impressionistically interweaves the experiences of people displaced by war in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. Images and experiences flow freely into another, the trails of tear gas morphing into the mists of limbo. A “wailing ode”, a chorus of voices drawn from historical accounts and contemporary interviews accompanies the book, part of an original score by multi-instrumentalist Julius Masri.

A Threnody was made as part of Swarthmore College’s Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary project, which brings respected American book artists, academics and culture workers into intimate conversations and publishing collaborations with Egyptian, Iraqi, and Syrian artists, poets, and other individuals who have recently resettled to Philadelphia. Driven by questions about displacement and refuge, history and experience, the project explores art’s capacity to build empathy and create a deeper sense of belonging. The project culminates in exhibitions in 2019 at Swarthmore College in the spring, three locations in Philadelphia throughout the summer, and Brooklyn, NY in the fall.

The full book is available via our friends at Booklyn here.

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