Part of The New York Memory Project
coordinated and compiled by artist and interviewer Antígona González in collaboration with FABnyc and The People’s LES
Notes from the Interviews:
“Throughout our conversation I found out that she has a huge generous soul to help and share with others. At the end she said she was very glad about remembering her story.”
“It was a very powerful interview for both of us. The main topic was her experience about a Home Aider – Caregiver with mostly wealthy people. Some of them with Dementia or Cancer. We talked about the importance of this work during the pandemic times.”
“It was a meaningful conversation for both of us. Gloria had been aiming to get to talk to a friend from who she hadn’t heard back, I gave her the contact to DOROT and a week after she was happy to have talked to him. Gloria was thankful with the opportunity of reviewing her own story through the interview, I was thankful too because talking with her was a nurturing experience to me.”
Quotes from the Interviews
“As a young person I’d walk down a hill to Elementary School and after school I had some friends on the block, we played role plays, we made things up, stories. There was a wooden area between Yonkers City line and NY through the way, I used to ride a bike, I loved it, my brother taught me to do it, that was one of the few times my brother helped me to learn. There were trees and plants, I loved that, that was beautiful”
“I was fortunate at one time to have clay, each child got a bowl of clay the size of a small grapefruit, we asked everyone to remove the jewelry, some of them made wonderful figures, one child took the clay and through it across the room, my wedding ring… I had taken it off and put it on the table, I never saw it again”
“When we die, we just go back into the earth and be the earth, because nature waste nothing, everything goes back and comes back again. We’re the only ones who makes the plastic, but we can only make the plastic go back to how it started, but for some reason we literally go over the place, but nature doesn’t do that”
About the New York Memory Project
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, FABnyc responded by dedicating staff time to aiding local efforts to calling senior members of the LES community to make sure they had all they needed during the lockdown. As we talked with the elders, we realized that beyond basic human needs, connection and conversation can also be meaningful, particularly for those with limited online access. Out of this realization came the New York Memory Project, which was taken on as an oral history project by artist and FABnyc collaborator Antígona González.
The New York Memory Project aimed to achieve a deeper understanding and create dialogue between the artist and the interviewed elders in order to communicate and share their (and our) truths, in spite of what we all were facing: isolation, uncertainty, and fear throughout these difficult times.
After recording several interviews, González has developed her own narrative of the project, and highlights interviews with folks who have lived through times of social injustice, political upheaval, personal growth, and, now, a global pandemic exacerbating all of the above. The New York Memory Project, in centering the artist’s experience and work, seeks to uplift the voices of the most vulnerable and yet most powerful of our community: our elders.