Jessica Saadia

Radiant Roots

Class of: 2027

Major: Strategic Design and Management BBA

Medium: Chandelier

Faculty: Aviva Maya Shulem

Prompt: Over the course of four weeks, students will create a 3D object or artifact that showcases their connection to their identified community, personal beliefs, or personality. The item may be a sculpture or a functional object/tool and should express their feelings of belonging to a particular community of their choosing. Students will explore the reasons behind their sense of connection and how it is demonstrated in their creation. Students are encouraged to use color, shape, form, texture, and scale to convey their emotions and connections visually.

As a Middle Eastern Syrian Jew, my community plays a crucial role in influencing my outlook on life and world views. Our past molds us into who we are today by providing us with a value system and moral compass. Ties to our roots nurture individuality and foster exchange of culture within the melting pot of NYC. As a first-generation American, I decided to preserve my Syrian Jewish culture instead of shifting away from it to fit in. I felt that noticing the crossover of one’s past and future is crucial in forging a distinct identity. Inspired by my heritage, I created a symbolic chandelier highlighting the importance and weight history has on shaping our future. This chain-suspended light fixture is made up of an 11-sided wooden polygon with a hinged top door, bottom light socket and adorned with raw branch pieces throughout. The suspended branches symbolize the metaphorical and literal foundation of a person, equivalent to the roots of a tree. The Arabic and Hebrew inscriptions were a result of bible lessons from my Syrian-born father.