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title. ci001921​

size. 24 x 20 x 1


Oyster from Jamaica Bay, carbon, and painted glass on canvas

Oysters rise again best JPEG.jpg

Before New York City (where I now reside) was The Big Apple, it was The Big Oyster. Allegedly, half of the world's oysters were here. Unfortunately, European colonizers depleted the stocks to a minuscule percentage of their former glory. The remaining animals were made unsafe for human consumption by oil spills, heavy metal dumping, industrial runoff, and raw sewage. Yes, New York City dumped raw sewage in its waters until the 1970s.


The title of the piece, ci001921, reflects the year the government closed the Jamaica Bay Oyster beds in Queens due to pollution.


I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It is the site for, arguably, the largest oil spill in the United States. I lived in the gymnasium basement of a former-Catholic school across the street from a, perhaps permanently uninhabitable, Superfund site. A Superfund site is deemed hazardous by the United States government due to the presence of toxic levels of chemicals and other pollutants.


Being so close to a leak, as well as currently operating oil refineries, made me think of a wave of oil (a hydrocarbon) taking over NYC, in particular, the new, high-rise, luxury developments they are just getting clearance to build on the East River shore of Greenpoint. I've included those boxy buildings along with the mid-rise tenaments that were built when Greenpoint was the site of Civil War shipbuilding.

NYC was built on a bed of oysters along its edges, especially the southern tip of the boro of Manhattan. The exploding carbon footprint (both literally and metaphorically in this painting), leads to climate change. This change increases the likelihood of previously rare catastrophic natural events. An example of this was when Superstorm Sandy surged the shores of NYC, They became inundated with water, glass, crumbled buildings, and asphalt. Lives were lost, hopes were distinguished, electricity was out for days (symbolized by dark buildings).

This painting was made to increase awareness of The Billion Oyster Project. Oysters are collected from restaurants, dried, then used to restore the oyster beds. Hopefully, the oysters will have a chance to rise again after this. With luck, humanity will, too!

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