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Nilou Moochhala

In the wake of America's most divisive presidential campaign in our memories, Nilou Moochhala created a piece exploring how words can separate people.

Moochala crafted 25 pairs of words holding opposite meanings. She used ordinary hardware store stencils and spray paint to inscribe them on the Bikeway. Her examples of polarizing language prompted thoughts about how language can eliminate the middle space, the complex areas of nuance, overlap and consensus -- the places where we can find common ground, craft compromise, and discover mutual respect and understanding.  A choice of words, a turn of thought, can turn your neighbor into The Other, The Opposite, or even the Enemy.

Rhetoric of Opposites was commissioned as part of PATHWAYS: Art on the Minuteman Bikeway, a public art initiative launched to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Minuteman Bikeway and activate Arlington’s newly designated Cultural District, which stretches from Capitol Square in East Arlington to Arlington Center.  The Bikeway offers a tree-lined route connecting two vibrant centers of town life, with their cafes & restaurants, neighborhood shops & libraries, and spaces for making or experiencing art, music, film & dance.

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