Sustain: From Loss to Renewal

Special Installation

May 1, 2021–March 20, 2022

About the Exhibition

Sustain: From Loss to Renewal is an original Skirball project created in response to the COVID-19 crisis that explores meaningful expressions of grief and resilience. Presented in three phases, Sustain turns to Jewish traditions of mourning and to the Los Angeles art community to guide us through our collective experience and help us move forward. After more than a year that saw a worldwide health crisis, amplified social and economic inequities, political uncertainties, and new rhythms to our everyday lives, the Skirball wishes to pay tribute to our community of Los Angeles.

Phase I: Yahrzeit Candle

May 1–August 1, 2021 | Skirball Lobby
The Skirball presented a yahrzeit candle, also known as a memorial candle, in its Main Lobby. In Jewish tradition, yahrzeit candles are lit to honor the memory of a deceased loved one. This custom is thought to originate from a verse in the book of Proverbs (20.27), "The human soul is the light of God." The light represents the soul, which in Jewish belief exists eternally.

Phase II: Visitation Stones

July 3–September 10, 2021 | Ahmanson Breezeway
Also drawing from Jewish tradition, the Skirball welcomes visitors to place a stone in a collective outdoor display. Evoking the Jewish gesture of leaving a stone at a gravesite in memory of a loved one, these visitation stones will be integrated into the North Arroyo dry riverbed on the Skirball campus—a permanent acknowledgement of what has been lost.

Phase III: Poster Series

September 11, 2021–March 20, 2022 | Ahmanson Breezeway
For the final phase of Sustain, the Skirball has commissioned an LA-based artist to create a series of seven images reflecting on the experience of loss and trauma during the past year through the lens of renewal and hope. Activating an outdoor corridor on the Skirball campus, the commissioned work will speak to the power of community to sustain us during crises, and to the need for our communal effort to help build a more just and humane society.