Longing for What Belongs to Us - CODAworx

Longing for What Belongs to Us

Submitted by Christina Saj

Client: Montclair BID

Location: Montclair, NJ, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $9,500

Project Team


Christina Saj

Christina Saj Fine Art

project manager / curator

Mary Scott

Gallery 73 See


Temporary Installation During Pandemic

Longing For What Belongs to Us
493 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair NJ
Curated By Mary Z, 73 See Gallery

These works were inspired by a poem by Rilke which captures sentiments that resonate today. Painted while in quarantine, they reflect the longing we all share for a world we knew before lock down and the hope that the future will return the life we knew. The stories we write and the pictures we paint describe who we are in here and now. If we do it right the messages travel across generations. I want my imagination to have a memory.

All will come again into its strength:
the fields undivided, the waters undammed,
the trees towering and the walls built low.
And in the valleys, people as strong
and varied as the land.
And no churches where God
is imprisoned and lamented
like a trapped and wounded animal.
The houses welcoming all who knock
and a sense of boundless offering
in all relations, and in you and me.
No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, from ‘The Book of Hours’


Utilizing empty storefronts "Fresh Air Montclair" an initiative of the BID district and local gallerias, created an ongoing art exhibit during the pandemic visible to residents and passersby in the open air 24/7 in order to give people places to visit in a covid safe environment.

My personal challenge was to make the installation as engaging as possible at all times of day. Specialized lighting across metallic surfaces allowed for a wonderful experience after dark.

My subject emerged from the experience of quarantine and reminiscences of freedoms lost.


I was invited to do a site specific installation in a glass storefront.

Installation challenges included no visible means for hanging, access to entry had to remain intact and lighting was not provided.

I created (2) 72" x 30" panels and a 48" x 72" central panel
They were mounted on foam and suspended from a metal office ceiling panel at various depths allowing access but a unified installation when viewed at a distance.

the works were lit from below, using programmed LED colored lights.

Production time was 2.5 weeks.