A PAINTING FOR A FAMILY DINNER, BRONX NY
ALINA AND JEFF BLIUMIS
In early April, we placed the following ad for residents of the Bronx, via local media and social networking sites: “New York-based husband and wife artist team are offering a painting in exchange for an invitation to a family dinner. Please email or call for more info.” Over the next month, we had dinner with 13 families all over the Bronx. Along this journey, we met wonderful people, had meaningful conversations, enjoyed tasty meals and gained a new perspective on the Bronx community.
Here are just some of the things we learned: government officials compose trance tracks after work while their kids get down to the beat in the kitchen; having a chef for a mom doesn’t mean you can’t sneak scraps from the bottom of the pan; Garifunas ROCKS; stories and dancing make excellent side dishes; the Bronx has perfected a musical child delivery; live birds and stuffed toys are family members; bronxmama is expecting; a retirement home can be a museum; a Shabbat dinner can be full of adventures; the locals are taking initiative in education; an artist-mother-wife with friends from all over the world can handle it all; the definition of clamdigger and musselsucker on City Island; the pros and cons of Puerto Rican independence; and a New York Botanical Garden employee has mastered the art of cooking a perfect Thai feast.
All 13 paintings stayed in the families. But the resulting series of 13 photo family portraits were on display at The Bronx Museum of the Arts, April 4 – June 4, 2012. “A Painting for a Family Dinner / Bronx, NY” was part of No Longer Empty’s This Side of Paradise exhibition.
[The following families participated in the project: Anton Trofymov; (hosting families and guests) Natalia, Pavlo, Ani, Liliya, Pavlo, Bohdan, Inga Koroleva; Emma Simon, Laura Kaufman Simon, Josei Simon; Jose F. Avila, Ava Avila, Thomas A. Avila, Teofilo Garcia, Diega Jaime, Sulma Arzu-Bbrown, Bella-Victoria Brown, Maurice Brown, Escolastico Arzu, Isidra Sabio, Dwight Dockery, Monica Bernardez, Suleni T. Sabio Arzu Brown, Sparkle, Perla Gonzales; Jahsaia, Maiysha, Lohan; Gayle Snible, Charlotte Snible, Lambie, Ed Snible, Betty, Lothar; Nicole Perrino, Briana Geronimo, Luis Geronimo, Shazia T. Khan; Jeanette Gordon, Sherryl Minott, Beth Mintz, Fay Weingarten, Howard A. Zeimer, Ruth Lasner, Alice Sebastian, Avi B, Erin M, Alex, Judy G, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Jack Ukeles; Sasha Wilson, Magnolia Sibley-Wilson, Delphinium Sibley-Wilson, Kendra Sibley; Woorim Kim, Cesar A. Grullon, Eija Barends, Alicia Grullon, Johan Barends, Ignacio Cltoi, Elielle Barends; Noemi Santana, Manny “Megman” Oquendo, Ezra Oquendo, Beatrice Tinio, Francisco “Paco” Lugovina; Andres Soto Burgos, Sandra Burgos Hidalgo, Xavier Soto Burgos, Israel Soto Duprey, Nena; Hector L. Lopez, Nicolas R. Provenzano, Leana J. Lopez, Narunee Meesawan, Manaswinee Meesawan, Astro Boy, Tera Meesawan]