Young Lords Photographer Dies at 76 –

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Hyrum Maristannie, the official photographer of Young Lords, a well-known Puerto Rican activist group active in the United States in the 1960s and 70s, died at the age of 76. This news was confirmed by Elm Theo del Barrio, who was once served by Maristany. As a director. The cause of his death was not revealed.

“As a photographer, Maristany’s work transcends pure documentary and proves the beauty of our community,” Elmseo said in a statement. “Today and always, we are grateful for his friendship and loyalty and continue to be inspired by his commitment to uplifting the Puerto Rican and Latin communities. Rest with your strength.”

Maristany turned her lens to Nuyorican, who lives in the East Harlem district of New York. “It’s no coincidence that many of the images are from 111th Avenue, which is exactly what I was born and raised in,” the artist said in a video interview with the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2018.

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Maristany wanted to record the political activities of the time, the living experience of Nuyorican, and the moments of their happiness in the face of racism, discrimination and poverty that many experienced. It was all an attempt to counter the long-standing negative image of the Puerto Ricans in the mainstream media.

“I’ve been recording my community for decades,” Maristannie said at a recent roundtable for a catalog of the current edition of the Greater New York Quinkenial of MoMA PS1 including his work. rice field. “One of the things I had to deal with when I was young was that all the images depicting Puerto Ricans were negative. We were committing a crime or against us. There was a crime. We were always handcuffed. Our sisters were portrayed as teenage mothers with no morals or ethics. I suffer very much about it. I was angry. I wanted to try something about it. It was naive and I felt I could deal with all these negative issues. “

Maristany joined Young Lords in 1968, when the group was formed. Modeled after the Black Panther Party’s self-defense, the group sought Puerto Rican self-determination on both the island and the mainland United States. “I emphasize the words Self defence.. They were formed because they felt they needed to protect their community. They did not come from the perspective of political analysis. They came from a practical reality, “Maristany said in a Greater New York conversation.

White brick walls hang full of black-and-white photographs, some of which show that people are passionately protesting.

A photo installation view of New York’s Hyrum Maristannie from 2021 to 22 on MoMAPS1.
Photo Alex Greenberger / ARTnews

One of the most important actions Maristany recorded was the 1969 protest, known as the Garbage Attack. At that time, the garbage collection at El Barrio was systematically ignored by the city’s health department, leaving garbage on the sidewalks of the neighborhood for several weeks at a time. Garbage had not yet been collected, even after the inhabitants cleaned the streets to collect it. Young Lords has decided that more drastic action is needed to highlight the seriousness of the crisis facing the community. One summer day, they took all the trash, dumped it at the main intersection of 111th Street and Third Avenue, and then set it on fire.

“Images of Hiram are a powerful archive of the community at the peak of racialization and alienation of photographs when taken by Hilliam in the 1960s and 1970s,” scholar Arlene Davila wrote in an email. increase. “He provided a corrective visual response that represented El Barrio from the perspective of the inhabitants. He was informed by the spirit of struggle and resilience that was full of love and pride and embraced the social movements of the times. . “

Other major historical moments captured by Maristany include the group occupying the first United Methodist Church in Spain in East Harlem. The church was renamed “People’s Church” and was used as a headquarters and community center. He also filmed the funeral of Julio Roldan, a fellow Young Lords who died in police detention in 1970. “Photographs of Hyrum Maristany document the important history of East Harlem as a political and cultural paradigm in New York City.” The person who curated the exhibition “¡PRESENTE! At Elm Theo del Barrio in 2015.” His work is included in the “Young Rose of New York” held.

In 1964, a Puerto Rican boy flew a kite on the rooftop of East Harlem in New York.

Hyrum Maristannie, Kite flying on the roof1964.
© 1964 Hiram Maristany / Smithsonian American Art Museum, Purchase a museum through the Smithsonian Latino Initiative Pool managed by the Smithsonian Latino Center

Maristany was as interested in catching these protests as he was filming everyday life. He took a picture of a young woman sitting leaning forward. Lechon Children playing in the alleys, the beauty of the cityscape at night, etc. One of Maristany’s most iconic images, Kite flying on the roof (1964) shows a boy flying a kite on the roof of a building in El Barrio. As Maristany once said, the place was important to the artist as it provided a liberation from the “harsh reality” that grew up in East Harlem. “We young men were always looking for ways to play. One of the safest places we had as a shelter was the rooftop. The rooftop has another view that we weren’t victims. Gave us. “

As with many color artists of his generation, widespread awareness of Maristany came later. His participation in Greater New York, which opened last October, is the first time his work has been curated into a major group exhibition at a mainstream New York institution.

Davila claimed that Maristany had deliberately kept his images away from museums like the MoMAPS1 for a long time. “Hiram knew that images were political. He was very intentional in the distribution and representation of his images. He was the museum and curator of his works and themes. Ability to treat with respect, “she said. “‘Dignity for Fame’ was his motto. I am grateful that he lived to see his work and subject treated with respect and dignity.”

View of El Barrio (East Harlem) at night from the roof.

Hyrum Maristannie, Night view1961.
© 1961 Hiram Maristany / Smithsonian American Art Museum, Purchase a museum through the Smithsonian Latino Initiative Pool managed by the Smithsonian Latino Center

In addition to the 2015 “¡PRESENTE!”, Maristany’s work was featured in the 2018 show “Down the Mean Streets: Urban Photography Communities and Places” at Elmseo. This show is E. Hosted by Carmen Ramos for SAAM, he later visited Elmseo. Prior to the latter exhibition, SAAM acquired 12 works by the artist in 2016. El Museo acquired a suite of 5 images by him in 2019.

That same year, Maristany’s friend and mentee artist Miguel Luciano hosted a public art exhibition in El Barrio as part of her stay at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The residence, co-sponsored by Elmseo, was entitled “Mapping Resistance: Young Lords of Elvalio”. For the show, Maristany’s images were blown up and set up on the street where they were first taken, and Luciano held a walking tour that summer to celebrate the history of local activists and prevent their disappearance and movement.

Ruba Katrib, co-curator of the current Greater New York Exhibition, said in an email: As a photographer who understands the importance of self-expression and the fundamental power of images to bring about deeper understanding and even change. “

Four people lift clothing with a clothing drive.

Hyrum Maristannie, Clothing drive1971
© 1971 HiramMaristany / Smithsonian American Art Museum, Purchase a museum through the Smithsonian Latino Initiative Pool managed by the Smithsonian Latino Center

[BorninEastHarlemtoparentswhoemigratedfromPuertoRicotoNewYorkin1945MaristanywasalifetimeresidentofElBarrioInadditiontohisworkwithYoungLordsMaristanniewasalsopartofthecommunitythathelpedhisfellowartistRafaelMontagnesOrtizfindElmTheodelBarrioin1969Bilingualpublishing[1945年にプエルトリコからニューヨークに移住した両親の元でイーストハーレムに生まれたマリスタニーは、エルバリオの生涯居住者でした。ヤングローズとの仕事に加えて、マリスタニーは、1969年に仲間の芸術家ラファエルモンタニェスオルティスがエルムセオデルバリオを見つけるのを助けたコミュニティの一部でもありました。バイリンガル出版Quimbamba.. He later served as director of the institution from 1974 to 1977. As a director, he worked to mount a multi-ethnic exhibition of artists as a way of building a coalition.

Maristany had not received formal photography training when he took up the media as a way to provide images of Puerto Ricans other than what he was seeing. He once described the process of creating these images as “trial and error.”

But above all, his images were a way to make sure that the history of his community was captured and conveyed by someone in that community. As he said in an interview with SAAM, “There are people I know that when they come here and see this, they will feel included in American history. It’s very It’s something that many people take for granted. Indeed, my work reflects a love affair with my community. Someday I’ll give them to some young people and evolving artists. Will inspire you to know your community, maintain their community, and not allow anyone else to do it for them. We must take responsibility and title for our history. Must be. “

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