Installation pieces from This is Boston show, Midway Studios Gallery 2023.

Boston: The Weight of Opportunity

Three canvas tourist bags with Boston in a script font. Each bag is full of red bricks. The left bag at head height is suspended by a magenta satin fabric. The center bag is suspended by a braided batik fabric, but it is so heavy it is suspended an inch from the floor. The right bag was suspended from a thin yellow sari fabric which has ripped under the weight - the bag has fallen to the floor and bricks have spilled out.

Red brick, canvas bags, fabric.

Brick, a timeless and ubiquitous material, has shaped the landscape of this city, embodying both the history and aspirations of its inhabitants. A unitized material, brick is a measurement that adds up to the layers of significance embedded within Boston’s streets and buildings, exposing the dichotomy of opportunity in the city: the potential reward it offers and the burden of cost it carries. 

The weight of opportunity manifests itself in the physical presence of brick, symbolizing the struggles and achievements of Boston’s past and present inhabitants. Each brick bears witness to the aspirations and labor of those who laid them, reminding us of the city’s foundation and the resilience of its inhabitants. However, while the brick represents the opportunities seized and realized, it also serves as a reminder of the unfulfilled potential and missed chances, adding a profound heaviness to the city’s collective consciousness. 

And at its core, the brick — the basic building block of the city, Also represents the aspirations home ownership and the fundamental need for shelter that are beyond the affordable reach of many.

Boston is left with a dream weighted down by its own materiality.


Boston: The Veil of Inclusion

A piece of plexiglass suspended from the ceiling is covred with thin-brick material so that there is space where the mortar should be in the brick. Shadowy text is visible on the wall behind the panel and can be read by peering through the brick.

Thin-brick, plexiglass, paper.

A veil built of wafer-thin false brick hangs over the city.

Behind the opaque brick walls that define our cityscape, an unfortunate reality persists, seeping through the mortar and overshadowing the progress we have made towards inclusion. From macro-level policies to hyper-local programming, a veil of inclusion too often still masks the persistent tendency to negate anything perceived as ‘other.’ The Veil of Inclusion challenges the status quo by questioning how we, as Bostonians, can recognize unconscious bias and microagressions in order to break through the mortar that divides us. 

By peering between the brick to confront biases, we can engage with the uncomfortable realities that lie behind the surface. Exposing everyday and unconscious biases, the Veil of Inclusion offers a space for dialogue by eroding the wall that separates us. 

Through introspection and collective action, we can foster a more inclusive community — one where empathy and understanding persist. Let us strive to be better, to embrace the breadth of our diversity, and to break through the mortar of worn stereotypes, to create a more inclusive and compassionate community for all Bostonians.

Detail looking through brick to microaggressions behind.
Detail looking through brick to microaggressions behind.