Paz de la Calzada
This installation consists of a geometric pattern found in the Alhambra Palace in Spain, made of hand-cut pieces of recycled carpet from a hotel in the Tenderloin. As a native Spaniard I am aware of the profound influences that Arabic culture left in Spain, the Alhambra of Granada being the most important example.
Inspired by the landmark Alhambra Apartments on Geary St, it calls attention to the irony of the cultural appropriation of Arabic architecture in the early 20th century and the contemporary stigmatization of Islamic people.
The Alhambra Apartments are among several buildings in the Tenderloin that are categorized as a Moorish Revival Style of architecture. This exotic style flourished after the 1906 earthquake, when the formerly residential neighborhood of single family homes was rebuilt as multistory buildings often with dramatic facades of the Exotic Revival style. Many of these buildings have become S.R.O. (Single Room Occupancy) hotels and are occupied by very low income families, mostly immigrants.