Images of people I've met whose lives were disrupted by forces beyond their control. Exhibited as part of my curated group show,"Disruption, at CPW, Woodstock, NY, 2018
Amadou sells inflatables on the public beach of Cefalu, Sicily. He works from 9am to 8pm every day. Each month, after his personal expenses are paid, he sends the balance of his earnings (200-300 euros) to his wife and 3 children in Somalia.
He hasn't seen them in 5 years.
Zaida and Maria Elena
Queens, New York
Two undocumented students were chosen by a committee of teachers to represent their high school in a national student championship in Texas. Selected for their academic excellence, public speaking skills, and leadership capabilities, these young women qualifies for the event by developing an innovative sustainability project.
Due to the current political climate, school administrators decided it was unsafe for them to fly to Texas.
A less qualified, yet documented pair of students, went instead.
Stefan and Sigrid
Stefan and Sigrid heard a loud pop coming from the cellar of the small house they have lived in for over thirty years. When they descended to the basement level, they discovered the slab had cracked open and a brown sludge was oozing quickly inside. The house was sinking because of the melting permafrost.
Within a day they were left homeless.
It is estimated that 2.5 million sq miles of permafrost (40% of the world's total) will disappear by the end of this century.
Queens, New York
Saturnino is from Puebla, Mexico. He has been in New York for three years. He parks himself in the Home Depot parking lot, hoping someone will hire him for day work. He barely makes enough money for his basic expenses and never has enough to send back to his wife.
New York City, New York
Dewi was originally named Hassan. She transitioned 7 years after immigrating from Indonesia to Los Angeles, eventually moving to NYC. When she left Jakarta, her muslim father disowned her and told her to never come back. Dewi works as a hair stylist in Brooklyn and sends her father $100 every month.
Maria and Romana
Brooklyn, New York
Maria and Romana are sisters from Guatemala. Between them, they have ten children.
When their husbands abandoned them in 1996, they were forced to leave their children with relatives and immigrate to the US. Maria cleans houses in Queens and Romana removes asbestos for a company in North Carolina.
As of today, they have missed eight weddings, the birth of twelve grandchildren, ten high school graduations, and two college graduations.
Leydy, 24, worked in the flower market in Havana.
She had been saving and borrowing for 5 years to fly to Panama, planning to travel north through the coyote pipeline, to eventually enter the USA.
The week she arrived in Panama, President Obama changed the "wet food/dry foot" status of Cuban immigrants arriving in the States. She is technically stranded in Mexico, were she has no status.
Her whereabouts are currently unknown.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mario, 31, is originally from Paraguay. He left the capital, Asuncion, when he was 16, and hitchhiked to Argentina.
An orphan since the age of 12, he has no family that he knows of and has no reason to go back.
He lives in Buenos Aires, taking pictures of tourists in La Boca in front of a tango mural. He doesn't have formal status and has not applied for one. He lives day to day.
Arjun is 6 years old. His father, Syed, a naturalized US citizen from Pakistan, was killed while serving as a technical interpreter for the US Navy in Iraq.
He stands in front of the decommissioned ship, just like the one his father served on.
Gia and Analissa
Gia and Analissa play on the shores of the Catania Municipal Beach, a few blocks from where they were born. The city owned power plant looms in the distance creating a surprising contrast. Analissa’s grandmother died of thyroid cancer at the age of 58. Gia’s mom suffers from extreme bronchitis and is on daily medication. Thyroid cancer rates are significantly higher in this part of Sicily than anywhere else on the island. The cause is attributed to the smoke and ash emanating from Mt Etna, 30 miles away.
There are some, though, that dispute this theory.