New York City’s African Burial Ground National Monument celebrates Black History Month with the photographic exhibit The Other Side – Charles, Caesar, Harry, Sam, Pompey, Lon and Isaac by New York artist Xiomáro.
The Other Side is the first photographic series centering on the burial ground of the little-known slaves from the William Floyd Estate in Mastic, Long Island, which is now a National Park unit of Fire Island National Seashore. Floyd signed the Declaration of Independence and served with George Washington.
The series is a spiritual memorial of these slaves and seeks to dignify them as individuals. Separated by a white wooden fence, their simple, year-less crucifixes bearing singular generic slave names are juxtaposed with the elaborate individualized tombstones of the Floyd cemetery.
Slavery’s complicated history was not limited to the south and was economically integral to some of the Founding Fathers. Over time, Floyd’s descendants decreased their slave holdings and his grandson enlisted in the Union army with other men that he recruited.
The photographs were created by Xiomáro (SEE-oh-MAH-ro), a nationally exhibited artist whose work has been covered by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Fine Art Connoisseur and many other media outlets. He is known for using photography to draw attention to important historical sites. Other projects with the National Park Service include Theodore Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill mansion in Oyster Bay (on exhibit at Harvard University) and the farmhouse and art studios at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut (home of both J. Alden Weir, a founder of American impressionist painting, and Mahonri Young, a sculptor of the Ashcan School). “My goal is that, after experiencing these collections, viewers will visit the parks to better understand our history, especially lesser known locations like the William Floyd Estate and its slave burial ground,” explains the artist.
The 10 large photographs featured in the free exhibit will remain on view at African Burial Ground National Monument, 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, from February 1 to 31, 2014. A free artist talk and mini exhibit will be held at Oyster Bay Historical Society, 20 Summit Street, Oyster Bay, on Sunday, February 9, 2:00 pm, and a free limited edition photo e-book, based on the series, can be downloaded at www.xiomaro.com.