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Mosaic: Fragments of a City

(2006) color, TRT 15 mins
Collaboration with Ladan Yalzadeh

Mosaic: Fragments of a City is an eight-screen video installation that explores five distinct ways heritage is transmitted to family and community—a dancer preserves a tradition almost obliterated; two brothers share the flavors of cherished family recipes; a Holocaust survivor commemorates the death of her parents; a suburban man remembers his grandfather while fishing; and a band of rockers forges new ground. The work was on view in the Skirball Cultural Center’s core exhibition, “Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America.”

The piece opens with Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, a classical Cambodian dancer, who teaches dance to the local Long Beach Cambodian-American community.  In the shadow of the dark legacy of the Khmer Rouge, the dance is an important symbol of the history and culture of Cambodia. Ilona Fuchs is a 80-something-year-old holocaust survivor who shares the tradition of flower crown-making with the children of her temple, commemorating Shavuot and the death of her parents at Auschwitz. Norm and Paul Theard are the owners of the Creole Chef, a restaurant that is proud to share the flavors and recipes of their great, great grandmother Josephine with its customers. Dennis Sanderson is a suburban man who re-embraces his rural heritage by fishing, a favorite pastime of his grandfather. The piece ends with los abandoned, a local Los Angeles band, who sing “rock en espanglish” and represent the face of future generations.

Graphics were contributed by Peter Bill.