Martha Cooper and Remembering 9/11

This week many New Yorkers are thinking about where they were on 9/11/2001 when the planes hit the World Trade Center Towers and what the city felt like in the days, weeks, and months that followed. There are many questions that never were answered, and there are many consequences that are still to unveil. An incredibly diverse city in so many ways, our unity was automatic and sincere. We already knew each other and we knew we all had been hurt and we were all changed by those events. While others looked at it as an American attack, New Yorkers felt a wound to the place we had made together, our beloved dirty beautiful hard and scrappy city. Today it is painful to go back and contemplate those days and wonder what happened, why, and at what cost.

brooklyn-street-art-martha-cooper-9-11-tenth-anniversary-web-6Martha Cooper: Remembering 9/11. De La Vega. (photo © Martha Cooper)

World renowned graffiti and Street Art photographer Martha Cooper had been documenting New York as a journalist and ethnographer for a quarter century when the streets of the city were flooded by raw sentiments and visual communications expressed with marker, pencil, paint, – whatever was at hand – in the days that followed 9/11.  Those incredibly personal desperate acts of expression were gazed upon and reflected on by neighbors and strangers as we attempted in vain to explain the world to one another. To remember a little of what it was like, she shares with us her photographs from those days.

“9/11 happened to all of us. It was a collective experience that defined the outset of the uneasy, globally interdependent twenty-first century. Nowhere, however, were the raw terror and tragic consequences of 9/11 felt more personally than the metropolitan region of New York City, for which the Twin Towers had functioned as a conspicuous compass setting, hub of work and recreation, and symbol of America’s economic might,” Martha Cooper writes in “Remembering 9/11”

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(photo © Martha Cooper)

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A memorial wall by members of Tats Cru. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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The symbolism in personal depictions like these often said more than thousands of words ever could. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“There are no prescribed rituals for mourning thousands of people. We invented them as we went along,” Martha Cooper

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(photo © Martha Cooper)

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Art work in Union Square (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Memorial Wall for WTC victims by Lower East Side artist, Chico Garcia; Avenue A (photo © Martha Cooper)

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(photo © Martha Cooper)

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(photo © Martha Cooper)

brooklyn-street-art-martha-cooper-9-11-tenth-anniversary-web-5 This wall in Queens, NY was painted by Lady Pink, Smith, Ernie and friends. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Martha Cooper is a featured panelist at today’s panel discussion in Brooklyn called “Return Remember: Ephemeral Memorials in the Legacy of September 11” At Power House Arena. 37 Main Street Dumbo. 6-8 PM.

Martha Cooper will be signing copies of a new slim volume of images “Remembering 9/11” following the panel discussion. For more information about this event please click on the link below:

http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/?p=23995

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