The last time I spoke with my friend Lori Zahara Figelman, she talked about her plans to counsel young women; the next time I saw her, a few days later,
she was walking to her death.  Seventeen years later, when asked to contribute to “Empty Chairs”, the image of this chair came to mind: a bone white, straight-backed kitchen chair with a vine climbing up to God.

Jews generally keep their memorials simple and unadorned, which is probably why I chose to make the chair out of pine, the traditional material for coffins, and why I wanted to turn the chair into a tree of life. The paint is made from milk; the pothos recalls a plant cutting I took from Lori’s room; the quote comes from her diary; and the Star of David was found on the street a few years after her death.

Made with: pine chair, pothos plant, milk, tempera, and silver in 2009.

Kenny Berkowitz

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