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Al-Mudhif, a healing and environmental art installation, debuts at the Schuylkill Center this week.
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Al-Mudhif, a healing and environmental art installation, debuts at the Schuylkill Center this week.

The mudhif is the first Iraqi guesthouse built outside of Iraq.

The Schuylkill Center and U.S Veterans, with help from environmental artist Sarah Kavage and Iraqi designer Yaroub Al-Obaidi have built a mudhif in Roxborough. It’s the first Iraqi guesthouse built outside of Iran.

A mudhif is a ceremonial, Iraqi home built with an invasive reed plant, designed for guests and large gatherings.

The goal of this mudhif, located at the Schuylkill Center, is to be a gathering point for Iraqi immigrant communities of Philadelphia as well as U.S Iraq veterans. The installation aims to be a safe space for healing and sharing difficult experiences.

South Philadelphian Marine Corps Veteran, Leroy Anthony Enck, describes the construction as “atonement” having been witness and contributor to environmentally destructive operations during the Iraq war.

Enck says the project will be, “an opportunity for generations young and old to experience greater understanding of people and flora displaced through no choice of their own.”

Al-mudhif is a part of a larger art initiative with Sarah Kavage, who will construct other installations along the Delaware River circuit trail using only natural materials. The first in-person event at the Schuylkill Center since March 2020, The Al-Mudhif debuts on Thursday night complete with land acknowledgments by Trinity Norwood and Reverend John Norwood of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation, remarks by mudif designer-builders and artists Yaroub Al-Obaidi and Sarah Kavage, live music and more. The installation and will be open until October 2021.


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Sophia Healy is an editorial intern with Green Philly. She is a writer and environmentalist from South Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University. She enjoys exploring the nature of Philly and discovering the many opportunities the city has to offer. View all posts by Sophia Healy

1 thought on “Al-Mudhif, a healing and environmental art installation, debuts at the Schuylkill Center this week.

  1. I love that these projects use invasive phragmites and turn a problem plant into useful objects. I hope this inspires others to create shade structures and other art from these plants. The reeds were cut at the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and there are plenty more that could be removed. Contact the refuge staff if you are planning a reed project. There are many other places where these reeds are a problem and could be removed.

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