This solo performance took place in the Ghetto Nuovo (“New Ghetto”) and the adjacent Ghetto Vecchio (“Old Ghetto”) in Venice, Italy. The Jewish Ghetto was established in 1516 and was a place where Jews were segregated and surveilled because of their religious beliefs. As I walked through what is considered the first such ghetto, I pondered what exactly a border denotes, where it actually exists, and what consequences occur when we accept these arbitrary demarcations. What are the borders that divide us? What have they cost us?
The text embroidered on the back of my linen dress is from Exodus 25—”And let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” The words area a directive for us to create a sanctuary for immigrants and refugees in our own communities and across the globe, and also a sanctuary for each of us that we may have a place of refuge.
Jewish Ghetto, Venice, Italy