Sunday, July 13, 2008

beautifying da bronx

Friday evening was the opening night of the art exhibition in City Island. Back in the day, we used to travel there via car but this time we took the subway and bus. It turned out to be about a 45 minute trip which is quite good. My mom, sister and her friend met us later that night after work.

There in the gallery, my two photographs were hung amidst dozens of other impressive art work. The show is composed of mostly photographs, some paintings and a few sculptures. The subject material of the works are quite diverse, but a significant proportion of them focuses on the Bronx. Rick, who was instrumental in me participating in the show, and his wife exhibited wonderful panoramas of City Island. One Bronx native concentrated on water lilies taken at Wave Hill Public Garden and the New York Botanical Gardens. Another artist captured the historical heritage of the borough's Belmont section as well as areas of Chile, which he visits annually. One gentleman, whose interest is comic books, had two large paintings - one of Superman and the other of the Joker - which were inspired by the works of well-known comic book illustrators. Another person photographed nude women and someone else worked with paper mache. This is just a sample of the diversity.

Of the two, Bronx Stars received more WOWs but people were also impressed to learn that the beautiful Lorelei Fountain is found right in the Da Bronx. Da Bronx? Huh? Can such beauty exist in what someone once described to me as a "dump"? Yep . . . and there's more. Rick was the first to tell me that he thought the Lorelei Fountain was taken in Rome or some other European capital. Knowing that I had traveled throughout Italy during the Watson, he thought I had taken the photograph abroad. But interestingly, that had never crossed my mind. But I heard similar responses by a few people on Friday. I took this to be a huge compliment. It made me feel that I was on to something. It was a sign, I believe, that I was capturing some of the unknown beauty of my borough and highlighting it in such a positive way that it made people pause. If I'm able to achieve that pause, then I know I'm doing something right. And although I didn't intend to set out on a mission to beautify Da Bronx, it seems like that is exactly what I'm doing.

Thursday morning, I took this photograph which I titled Triplets. Again, I think it would surprise many people to learn that such a pastoral scene can be found uptown. Yep . . . and there's more like it.

After looking through my portfolio and telling me that my work was good for someone who has been shooting only since November, Ron, the gallery owner, encouraged me to become a member of the Bronx Council of the Arts. He went on to tell me that the BCOA has a grant program for Bronx artists called the BRIO or Bronx Recognizes Its Own and that I should apply. There's nothing to lose. Pick a theme, such as bridges, he said and go for it. If I don't get it, then try again.

I made some interesting contacts that night and got to experience a little of the outer borough art scene. BronxNet, one the local cable stations, covered the event and I and a few of the artists there were interviewed. It is supposed to air tomorrow. I hope to record it and if so, I'll post the video. The Bronx Times was there as well. This show continues until early August. I'll be notified if anyone purchases my work. The next open show is around Christmas. I will try to exhibit again then.

Finally, I see Dr. C-M tomorrow for my next checkup. I'm not worried about tomorrow's appointment, but it's apparent to me that my body is undergoing some rapid changes. I believe that I may be witnessing the appearance of GVHD for the first time.

For about a little over a week, a few strange blister-like bumps tinged with a slight bluish hue (though painless) have been on the crown of my penis. I showed them to my GP, who confessed that he didn't know what they were. He went ahead with the customary HIV and syphilis tests, which proved negative of course. On Friday as I was in the bathroom preparing for the art show, I noticed that darkened patches had appeared on my cheek bones and forehead. In addition, areas of my gums have turned bluish, which are very similar in color to the bumps on my penis and those on my bottom lip. My feet also have been achy recently and I don't feel it's related to the ingrown toe nail.

A few months ago, Dr. C-M cautioned me that GVHD may begin to appear as I continued to taper my Tacrolimus dosage. He told me to be on the look out for any changes in the color of my skin, such as darkened patches. Tomorrow I'm scheduled to reduce the dosage to .5ml and then, stop it all together on August 4th.

The recent changes that I listed above may be something different all together, but I have a feeling its GVHD. I'll show him tomorrow and see what he says. Naturally, I'm wondering what this may do to my trip.


Comment Blogger One Mother with Cancer said...


Have you ever considered selling your photographs online? They are so beautiful, you could print more than one copy I'm sure people would really be intrested in buying them.


11:54 AM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Hi April,

Thanks for commenting. I hadn't thought about that but that's a great idea. I need to really look into that!!

3:00 AM  

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