Rhetoric of Opposites was designed and painted by artist Nilou Moochhala in the summer of 2017. It consists of 25 pairs of words stenciled on the pavement of the bikeway, exploring the way language can be used to polarize opinion and divide people. Complementary words can be manipulated to create extreme differences – such as us/them, all/none, alone/together, dangerous/safe. This rhetoric of opposites can be deployed to obscure shared values and beliefs and to undermine concensus, tolerance and empathy.
Although most of the words have faded with time, you can still find traces of a few legible pairs while walking the section of the Bikeway that goes from Linwood Street to Swan Place in Arlington Center. This pair – "create" and "destroy" – are appropriately enough located on the threshold of Freedom Baird's Room to Grow, a work which explores the human impact on nature, contemplating the potential for both creative and destructive interactions.