When artist Muneer Bahauddeen first moved to Washington Park, he lived above Amaranth Bakery. Now, he has moved his living space and workshop across the street into a previously derelict building that he and Amaranth owner and landlord David Boucher have worked to rehabilitate. Through bringing creativity and life to a building with a troubled past, he is redefining its role in the neighborhood. In his adapted studio, Bahuddeen makes ceramic tiles and conducts workshops where he guides participants through creating their own. But transformation takes patience, support, and trust even when finances are looking bleak. He describes his cycle of "feast" and "famine." Through "sweat equity" -- doing odd jobs around Dave's properties, he is able to stay afloat during the slow winter months until the next year's demand for art picks up.
The process of converting the abandoned property into the space that he uses now has given Bahauddeen plenty of opportunity to think about the building and others like it. He now sees the layers that can be peeled back to reveal its "bones." Rather than "demolishing" parts of a building, he has learned to view it as "dis-assembling" an intentionally designed structure. Through observations of the design and built details of the buildings in the neighborhood, he reflects on who the homes were originally for.
Muneer’s dreams are bigger than just his own personal space, and his presence in the neighborhood is immediately apparent. His distinctive ceramic tiles, and the tiles made by visitors to his workshop, can be seen in Amaranth Bakery, on a bench at the community center, in parks, and on wooden posts dotted around the community. Muneer explains that the posts, which contain visions for the community written down by its members and slipped behind handmade tiles, serve as a visual reminder of its potential and the people who care about it.
Muneer Bahuddeen, interview by Matthew Honer, Tessa Begay and Juliana Glassco, June 2014.
Muneer Bahauddeen describes cycles of feast and famine.
Muneer Bahauddeen talks about architecture.
Muneer Bahuddeen describes architectural talismans