2001-11-17 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
By Susan Hartenstein

Upon this writing, sirens still break the cold, rigid night air. Flashing lights continue to accost the walls of my living room. Less frequently than before, but not allowing any respite, no matter how brief. The triage center lies across the street. It is late, but emergency vehicles still stand everywhere, from everywhere. A fire truck emblazoned, "WHITESTONE EAGLES," ambulances identifying themselves as being from Long Island. When earlier, my neighbor and I went into the triage center to see if we could help, we spoke to an emergency worker from Brooklyn and another from Allentown, PA. In gentle, controlled voices they thanked us and told us they didn’t need us there. But they suggested we check on our neighbors to make sure they are all right – emotionally, that is. They explain that sometimes people initially think they are fine, but after a time discover they are not. So we return home to make those calls. And I am reminded, with renewed significance, of the mural my friend Geoff Rawling has done outside Coney Island Hospital’s ER.

I am reminded of that tribute to emergency medical workers and hospital staff and police and firefighters. I am reminded of the T-shirt Geoff wore in memory of Ray York, one of those lost on 9-11. I think of my friend Chris, a nurse, who rushed to the crash site this morning to see if she could help.

It is later still. Early morning by now. I walk across the street to mail two bills. The lights in triage remain on. Some vehicles still stand, ride around, change position. The sounds of their engines sharp in the crisp, hollow air. One of the men there tells me they continue to search for bodies at the site. I am tired and sick at heart. I must write an arts column today. But today, or is it yesterday, just a few blocks away from me a plane crashed. I heard the sound. I saw the billows of smoke. I felt the people rush by me, crying uncontrollably, running to be with family and friends. Just a few blocks away from me a person died 270 times. I fall asleep for a few hours. When I wake I remember I must write an arts column today. How? I think of Geoff and the mural. I think of Chris and the program she started to help children express their feelings about 9-11 through art. I think of the truth of my friend Marina’s favorite expression, "Art Heals." I think of the responsibility I have to this truth. I begin to write…

The people, sights, music and spirit of 11 Asian countries are captured by 2 versatile artists, intimately familiar with this fascinating part of the world. The Rockaway Artists Alliance, in conjunction with Gateway National Recreation Area (GNRA), presents "Travel in Asia with James Cosgrove and Denis Macrae" – Photographs, Paintings & Performance. The exhibition and accompanying special events take place from November 17-December 9 in sTudio 6, Fort Tilden, GNRA. Admission is free to gallery and all special events.

Photographer/videographer Denis Macrae has been traveling in Asia since 1974. Painter/photographer James Cosgrove, who holds a degree in Southeast Asian Civilization from the University of California at Berkley, first went to Asia in 1972. The images they have recorded are not those of the casual tourist. Each has a profound understanding of the people, their customs, cultures and religions. Cosgrove and Macrae, whose wife is Filipino, have ventured into some of the most remote areas of these countries. Their work reflects this special insight. The fresh, spontaneous style of Denis Macrae makes all his subjects seem like family. In addition to finished photographs, watercolors and acrylic paintings, Cosgrove exhibits sketches made as quick, spontaneous records of his journeys. The countries traveled by the artists include Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Nepal, The Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

Lecture/performances are scheduled for every Saturday and Sunday of the exhibition, at 2 p.m. Audience participation is encouraged. Each of these serendipitous events will explore different aspects of Asian life through slides, videos and performances. The public is invited to actively participate and to bring slides (in a tray, if possible) relating to travel in Asia. One weekend will present a Balinese dance and a slide show using two projectors.

At a time when the world has become smaller than ever and an understanding of all its inhabitants is essential, come see an important part of that world, recorded with insight, humor and affection. Opening reception is Saturday, November 24, 1–4 p.m. There will be a performance at 2 p.m., which will include Filipino classical guitarist Dodie Peralta. Refreshments will be served and will include Filipino food. Gallery hours are Saturday 12–5 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. For further information, please call RAA or email: RockArt116@aol.com.


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