Sustain: From Loss to Renewal

Outdoor Installation

May 1, 2021–March 20, 2022

About the Exhibition

Responding to the COVID-19 crisis, Sustain: From Loss to Renewal explores meaningful expressions of grief and resilience. This three-part installation looks to Jewish traditions of mourning and the Los Angeles art community to guide us through our collective grief and 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 the community of Los Angeles. 

Phase I: Yahrzeit Candle

May 1–August 1, 2021 | Skirball Lobby
yahrzeit candle, also known as a memorial candle, burned in the Skirball’s 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, 2021–March 20, 2022 | Ahmanson Breezeway
Evoking the Jewish gesture of leaving a stone at a gravesite, visitors can dedicate a visitation stone in memory of a loss. After Phase II ends, the stones will be integrated into the Skirball’s North Arroyo dry riverbed as a lasting acknowledgment of what has been lost.

Phase III: Poster Series

September 11, 2021–March 20, 2022 | Ahmanson Breezeway
View a series of seven images by local artist Stephanie Mercado. Paying tribute to LA’s diverse workforce—especially those disproportionately affected by the pandemic—the collection highlights the ways in which community sustains us during crises and is essential to creating a more just and humane society.

Read more about each person honored in this series >