APIARY 9 Sanctuary was released on October 27th, 2017 at the Moore College of Art & Design.
In 2014, Philadelphia was declared a Sanctuary City. This new title offers an official promise that individuals who have fled their country due to foreign conflict, racial or religious persecution, political alliances or opinions, can find safe haven in Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s controversial status as a Sanctuary City has asked us to rethink the physical, economic, social, and spiritual boundaries that map our city’s current identity.
For APIARY 8, we asked Philly artists to explore what it means to live as a target in your own city, under threat. For APIARY 9, we asked to hear about your sanctuary: the one space where a targeted body is sheltered from attack, without exception. Where is that space for you in Philadelphia? Does it exist yet? If not, what should it look like?
Sanctuary can be a brick and mortar institution, a spot on the map, a shifting group of people, a community, or a shared ritual. Sanctuary is also a space of contradiction and tension: it is a place of unconditional safe harbor, but by design, that refuge must be granted by a guard or gatekeeper who works to keep the sanctuary “safe.” This city’s borders are drawn as hard lines on a map or black-and-white items of legislation, but in reality, our city’s border is like a membrane. It is as porous and alive as the borders of our own bodies, and we are the ones who accept or reject who passes through that membrane, which new bodies are allowed to thrive in our city’s shared space. What makes a true sanctuary, and how does Philly fulfill or fail its status as a Sanctuary City? How can we, as the citizens who shape Philadelphia's identity, help our city live up to this claim?
Thank you to the authors, artists, the New Sanctuary Movement, the Moore College of Art and Design, Cultureworks, VIX Emporium, 2SP Brewing, and all the generous members of the Philadelphia Literary Directory for making this issue possible.