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In 2020, just as the pandemic began, I bought an acre of land in western Ohio, on which sits an abandoned one-room schoolhouse. This site allowed me to explore my complex relationship with “the land.” As the daughter of displaced indigenous Palestinians, I attempted to form a proxy bond with the earth, on ground that was stolen from the displaced indigenous Shawnee people.
Closeness to the Land is a video documentary of hand-painted text signs that translate the word الأرض (ard) into six English words, displayed performatively in multiple locations to capture the now-invisible nature of indigenous culture in Ohio. These signs were installed on the old schoolhouse in early 2021.