Room 2.19 is about the powerful intrapsychic and geopolitical forces that threaten to hijack our minds, souls, and agency —and along with that, our communities and countries.
Being involved in global violence prevention and dealing with genocides, gender-based violence, civil wars, and suicides, the last thing on my mind was domestic partisan politics.
I work at an agency in a central city in Israel that focuses on treating children who are survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence. The office has one bathroom with two private toilet rooms: a toilet without a toilet seat for men and a women’s bathroom.
Crossing borders in the recent past was probably less confusing and demanding than it is now. Institutions, social norms, and rituals made borders more rigid, and prior to the digital revolution and hyperglobalization, borders were more stable.
I am sitting in my office, thinking about rooms. Writing for Room has prompted this state of reverie, during which one of my favorite works, A Room of One’s Own, passes through my mind. In her essay, Virginia Woolf writes of the necessity for women to have money and a room of their own in order to write fiction.
A young man came to see me suffering from what he described as an “identity crisis.” He felt lost and didn’t know who he was or what he wanted. His family had fled from their country of origin during a time of war and could no longer return without the threat of imprisonment or death.
Mohamad Kebbewar was born and raised in Aleppo. Immigrating to Canada at age 19, Kebbewar earned a degree in history from Concordia University before becoming a graphic designer. He recently published a chapbook with JackPine Press entitled The Soap of Aleppo. He is putting the final touches on his novel The Bones of Aleppo.
Anne Sherwood Pundyk is a painter and writer based in Manhattan and Mattituck. Her recent solo exhibitions include Salena Gallery, LIU Brooklyn, NY; Adah Rose Gallery, Kensington, MD; and Christopher Stout Gallery, Bushwick, NY. A selection of her group exhibitions include, EMINENT DOMAIN, Chelsea, NY; VSOP Projects, Greenport, NY; Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY; University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT; and SPRING/BREAK Art Show, New York, NY. Her artwork is in the collection of Barclays Bank, State Street Bank, The Luciano Benetton Foundation, Glamorise Foundations, Equity Residential, Marriott International, Katie Couric, Anthony Grant, Cy Twombly, Barry Hoggard and James Wagner among others in the US and Europe. Her paintings have been written about in artcritical, The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, ART21 Magazine, ArtUS, ARTslant, Hamptons Art Hub, Art511 Magazine and The Washington Post.
I had a safe childhood growing up in Brezhnev-era Soviet Russia. My family was a rather typical one, according to the principle formulated by Leo Tolstoy in Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
I can thank Donald Trump for one thing and one thing only: he got me to read things I never would have read before. As my anxiety about his rhetoric kept increasing, Jason Stanley’s book On How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them convinced me my fear of a fascist government takeover was not so far-fetched under the right conditions…