Rheim Alkadhi - Iraq/USA

House of the Matchmaker

Abandoned shoes inside an abandoned dwelling


I labored under the pounding heat of the sun. I must have been a sight: dust-covered woman walking with eyes to the ground, picking up stray shoes, depositing them in a garbage bag slung over her shoulder.


I labored in the domestic enclosure of an abandoned dwelling. I moved earth that obscured the original mud flooring. I stacked reeds that had fallen from the collapsed ceiling. I shifted boulders and brushed away cobwebs.


I labored in an art context, as an art-practitioner. On the floor of the house I arranged over 300 displaced, dispossessed, or otherwise forgotten shoes. This was a temporary refuge where sandal and boot, flip flop and sneaker, goat-chewed heel and detached sole, Arab-made and Italian, small and large, ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine,’ leather and rubber, cheap and expensive, mint and broken, military and civilian -among many others- could be easily declared an aesthetic pair.