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Forgive written on the sidewalk

FORGIVE (art on the sidewalk)

A Ukrainian woman yelled at me while I photographed the word “forgive” on the sidewalk.

Walking down Chicago Avenue in the Ukrainian Village on a bright Sunday, I was looking for small things that I like to photograph for the “I like” project. This word “FORGIVE” was painted onto the sidewalk with what appears to be gum or something.

I wanted to write on a sticky note, “I like forgiveness” but that seemed redundant in the photo. The words FORGIVE simply speak for themselves, so I decided to photograph this outside of the “I like” project.

I set up my tripod and snapped some shots when an older Ukrainian woman with a couple other ukkie woman in her crew started yelling in my direction. I have no idea what she was yelling, because it was in Ukrainian. I looked around for someone else that she would be yelling at, but I couldn’t find anyone. I looked at her confused, looked at the ground, looked at her.

She yelled something a couple more times, and I was thinking, “Gee this is kinda ironic. This woman, who is probably going to church, is yelling at me for photographing the word FORGIVE on the sidewalk.”

Well, I suppose it’s up to me to forgive her for any misunderstanding.

Comments are very welcome, please leave a reply

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Matt MaldreunlikelymooseTom Saaristo Recent comment authors

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Tom Saaristo

Maybe she was the artist of the graffiti and was trying to tell you that you needed permission to take a photo of her work (whether she would be right or wrong) … but yes, you would think the message would usurp any yelling


and she expected you to know the Ukrainian language? That part escapes me.

Tamara Partridge

I see these all over Chicago!


[…] Two years ago someone in Ukrainian Village thought I was the one writing the “forgive” on the sidewalk. I was not the person. My FORGIVE story. […]